Lock Up Abusers: Victim Advocate

In the last week, a 23-year-old woman was killed in a West Hartford home. Police charged her husband with murder and said there was an outstanding protective order against him.

A man is accused of bursting into his estranged wife’s Shelton home and engaging police in a two-hour standoff. Luckily, she was able to escape. He was arrested.

Tiana Notice, 25, was stabbed to death on Valentine's Day. Her ex-boyfriend James Carter was charged.

Hours before she was killed, she had gone to the Plainville Police Department with an e-mail Carter had sent to report violation of a restraining order, her friends said.

These cases, and others, have people talking about the power, or lack of power, behind protective orders.

When someone violates one, the only possible charge is violating what’s on that piece of paper, the state Office of the Victim Advocate says and the office wants that to change.

“Experience has shown the perpetrator will test the responsiveness to violations of that order, and when there is none, will continue to escalate,” office officials said in a news release.

To make the orders stick, the office wants to immediately arrest people who violate the orders, place high bonds on the violators and place them under house arrest with GPS devices strapped to the ankle.

Michelle Cruz, the State Victim Advocate, said the laws to protect victims are in place but they are not strictly enforced.

The problem is not unique to Connecticut, but judges have the authority to assess a suspect's potential for danger and impose harsh penalties when a violation occurs, she said.

An investigative report will be released next month to identify gaps in services to domestic violence victims.

After Tiana Notice, of Plainville, was killed, the Connecticut Coalition of Domestic Violence started its own initiative and plans to review laws and urge lawmakers to do more, the Hartford Courant reports

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