Connecticut lawmakers

Governor Signs ‘Jennifer's Law,' Expanding Definition of Domestic Violence in Conn.

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A domestic violence bill coined "Jennifer's Law" in honor of missing New Canaan mother Jennifer Dulos has been signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont.

The law, which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month with a 134-8 vote, expands the definition of domestic violence in state law to include "coercive control." This means that threatening, humiliating, or intimidating acts that harm a person and deprive them of their freedom will now be considered domestic violence, according to officials.

The bill, SB 1091, will establish a new program to provide legal representation for domestic violence victims who file restraining orders. Those who file restraining orders will also be faced with a more efficient process, with the capability to email marshals the forms needed to serve them. Previously, forms needed to be hand-delivered to the courthouse.

Victims of domestic violence will also now be allowed to testify remotely in court proceedings for matters such as restraining orders, protective orders, or standard criminal protective orders.

The bill requires that a safe place be provided to victims of family violence in all court locations built after July 1, 2021.

The law was passed in the Senate with a 35-1 vote last month.

Sen. Alex Kasser, D- New Canaan, who represents Jennifer’s district, calls it groundbreaking domestic violence legislation two years in the making that can’t wait any longer.

May 24 marked two years since Dulos' disappearance. Investigators believe the mother of five was murdered by her estranged husband Fotis Dulos at her New Canaan home. Her body has yet to be found.

For more information on Jennifer's Law, click here.

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