Fishbein Stands By Comments on Domestic Violence

A Connecticut House Member from Wallingford faced a political backlash late Thursday and early Friday for his comments regarding victims of domestic violence.

They came during floor debate on a measure that made changes to the statutes dealing with, "dual arrests," by police in cases of domestic violence.

Craig Fishbein, who is a practicing attorney specializing in divorces and family law, said, "I can tell you, in divorces that I do, which are many, sometimes domestic violence is arranged, involved, sometimes it’s real. Many times it is real.”

Fishbein took issue with the change to the law that gave police the discretion to name, a "primary aggressor," in a domestic dispute.

On Friday, Fishbein told NBC Connecticut he, "may have made a poor choice of words."

"I did not mean to belittle or minimize" victims of domestic violence,” he added.

He said he has had experience in cases where police were called while a couple was in the middle of a divorce or custody proceeding, where one of the parties was looking to damage the other.

Fishbein, a Republican, is in his first term representing Wallingford.

He cast the sole vote against the measure which unanimously passed the Senate earlier in the session. The 147 House members sent the measure to Gov. Dannel Malloy's desk where he is expected to sign the bill into law.

The CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Karen Jarmoc, said Fishbein's comments are reflective of a culture where many victims are still not believed.

“If there is still, with some people, the narrative that domestic violence is believable in some cases, not believable in others, that a victim may not be believed, a victim may be blamed, we still have work to do," she said.

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