Connecticut lawmakers

‘Jennifer's Law' Passes House, Heads to Governor's Desk

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A domestic violence bill coined "Jennifer's Law" in honor of missing New Canaan mother Jennifer Dulos has passed in the House of Representatives with a vote of 134 to 8.

The law, which was passed by the Senate last month with a 35-1 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 could be considered domestic violence, according to officials.

The bill, SB 1091, would 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. Currently, forms need to be hand-delivered to the courthouse.

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

"This legislation will save lives, plain and simple. The changes in this bill will be a lifeline to the more than a third of all Connecticut women who will experience some form of intimate partner violence or stalking in their lifetime. It's the result of years of input and experience and advocacy to give victims the tools to leave abusive relationships and hold their abusers accountable," Sen. Mae Flexer said in a statement.

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

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.

The bill will now head to Governor Ned Lamont for his approval. For more information, click here.

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