East Hartford Police say they respond to between 280 and 320 domestic violence calls a year. In a partnership aimed at bringing that number down, they have partnered with Interval House.
According to their web site, Hartford Interval House is the largest domestic violence agency in Connecticut, providing counseling, safe house protection and court advocacy. They will now have associates embedded with East Hartford Police several days a week.
“By being embedded with the East Hartford Police, our victim advocates will be better able to communicate with officers about the cases,” said Interval House President and CEO Mary Jane Foster.
Police say this partnership will help expedite domestic incident screenings and offer on-site training, helping officers identify signs of domestic abuse more quickly.
Prior to this partnership Interval House associates were not housed in the same facility as the police and the communication process, discussing and evaluating cases, could take days. This partnership is said to streamline that process.
“The communications will be much more efficient,” explained Foster. “We will be able to work much more directly with a much larger number of victims.”
According to recent statistics published by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there were more than 38,000 domestic violence victims in the past fiscal year.
“At least a third of all cases in the state of Connecticut are domestic violence related and we want to see that number come down," said East Hartford Police Chief Scott Sansom.
Police say this partnership will make them more familiar with cases. Interval House says this is essential, because interaction with a police officer for the very first time sets the tone for everything that follows.
“There is no more dangerous time than when a police officer is called to the scene of a domestic issue,” added Foster.
There have been dangerous domestic cases in East Hartford, including a September incident resulting in one man being shot by East Hartford police after the man attacked his wife. East Hartford leaders say addressing domestic violence is a priority.
“Statewide there’s over 38 thousand cases each year,” said Mayor, Marcia Leclerc, “East Hartford is not immune to any of those numbers.”
Since 1981, the month of October has been annually recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.