Tomorrow marks the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It also marks the start of a new law in Connecticut that broadens the scope of what is considered domestic violence. Meghan Scanlon, the CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence sat down with NBC Connecticut's Jane Caffrey to discuss it.
Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline: 888-774-2900
Jane: "Meghan, tell us a little bit about what this law does and why it's so important."
Meghan: "Sure, so tomorrow, October 1, those who have been impacted by coercive control would be able to go in and file for a family violence restraining order. So it's the first step that we've taken in the state of Connecticut to ensure that there's court-ordered relief for victims that are experiencing non-physical abuse."
Jane: "Some people might have heard of this law referred to as Jennifer's Law, because of the Jennifer Dulos case, her estranged husband was accused of killing her back in 2019. But Meghan, this law could be named after a million different women, because so many people are victims of domestic violence, and their cases often go unnoticed."
Meghan: "Yeah, that's exactly right. So coercive control is certainly not a new form of power and control that abusers have used with their victims. So of course of control, just to be clear, is anything from intimidation, isolation, financial control. So there's a lot of emotional and psychological abuse patterns that fall under this new law. But women from all different backgrounds all have experienced this. So we are really excited that this is an option for all victims, regardless of their gender, or sexual orientation, identity and also their race, that they're able to take advantage of this new law and and seek some relief and safety from their abuser."
Jane: "And emotional abuse can actually be much harder to identify because you don't see the physical evidence of it. So what warning signs should friends and family look out for if they suspect that someone might be a victim? And then where can they go for help?"
Meghan: "Sure, what I would say to that is, the people that you're close to in your life you know the best, right, so you can kind of tell when something might be off with them, when you might not necessarily see them as much. A lot of times abusers will use isolation from family and friends. They'll use strict financial controls. So either giving an allowance or not having any access to finances. So if you do see any of those warning signs, it's certainly important to refer the individual whoever it is to seek help, and help is here. 24/7. We have a statewide Domestic Violence Hotline that anyone can reach via chat, text, email, or phone call and the phone number is 888-774-2900. Or you can go online to CTsafeConnect.com and you can get access to one of our Safe Connect advocates 24/7,