Since late March, the state of Connecticut, much like the rest of the country, has been in lockdown. The state’s stay-at-home order has prevented certain non-essential businesses from conducting in-person operations, and people may only leave their homes to perform essential tasks. For some families, this order has kept them safe. However, for families where domestic violence is a concern, this order may not have had the same effect. Connecticut domestic violence activists are concerned that victims are unable to receive the services they need, and those who are seeking protection or who need to defend against accusations of domestic violence may face difficulties in having their cases heard in court.
Has the Pandemic Increased Domestic Violence Calls?
According to the president and CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), calls to police regarding domestic violence increased by around 52 percent in early April of this year when compared to a similar period of time in early March. However, some law enforcement reports show that family violence calls decreased in the first two weeks of April 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. Municipal and state police reported that there were 495 family violence calls placed in the first half of April, compared to 519 calls placed during the same period in 2019.
The pandemic has also affected the services available for victims. The state of Connecticut only has 227 licensed emergency beds for domestic violence victims, and these are now almost completely full. Thanks to a $15,000 grant from an anonymous donor, hotel rooms have been provided for an additional 29 victims.
Reduced Court Services
Part of the issue with domestic violence during this pandemic is the fact that many courthouses are closed or are operating at a reduced capacity. This has made it harder for some people to request restraining orders, according to the CCADV’s president. Only six of the 19 Connecticut state courthouses are open to process restraining orders, putting increased pressure on those courthouses to address these cases in a timely fashion.
According to a spokesperson for the state Judicial Department, all efforts are being made to protect victims of domestic violence. Judges are said to be using the same standard of review as they normally would when choosing to issue or deny restraining orders. Because these situations may be considered emergency cases, those who are seeking protection and those who need to defend against a restraining order should be able to have their cases heard, even with courts operating at a reduced capacity.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Connecticut Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Domestic violence accusations are very serious. If you have been accused of this type of offense, or if a restraining order has been issued against you, you will need to work with an experienced attorney to determine how to handle your case during this time. To learn about your options for defending against these charges, speak with our Hartford, CT domestic violence defense lawyer today. Call our office at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.