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Domestic violence advocates gather to discuss how the state can keep victims safe

Domestic violence is a problem that The Center for Family Justice hopes to tackle in the future.

Advocates for victims of domestic and sexual violence met in Bridgeport on Tuesday to discuss how to address the issue going forward.

”We’re here talking about what the session is going to look like this year, and what types of laws and changes we’d like to see in the state of Connecticut all directed on keeping victims of domestic violence and sexual violence safe,” said Debra Greenwood, CEO, and President of The Center for Family Justice.

This annual meeting also bringing together law enforcement personnel, lawmakers, and domestic and sexual violence experts to establish goals on how to make Connecticut safer for victims in the future.

“One homicide is too many,” said Greenwood. “What we’ve seen is an increase in our hotline calls, we’ve seen an increase in individuals that walk in to the center, which they can do five days a week, but the hotlines are 24 hours a day, seven days a week, our safe houses have also been at 122% capacity at all times.”

The meeting coming on the heels of the tragic case of the missing mother of five, Jennifer Farber-Dulos. Jennifer had been in the midst of a contentious divorce prior to her disappearance, and police say she’d highlighted various reasons why she feared her estranged husband would hurt her. Her husband, Fotis Dulos, has since been charged with murder. Fotis Dulos has pleaded "not guilty" to other charges in the case and has not been convicted.

”Domestic violence and sexual assault are in the front news, but what we want to do is support those who are not heard, support those whose lives are irreparably changed, we are there for them,” said State Senator, Tony Hwang.

“Preventing domestic violence and sexual assault isn’t just lawmaking, it’s about raising awareness and prevention,” said Hwang. “So this is an opportunity for us to learn, interact, and hopefully spread the message.”

The organization hopes to propose and discuss key pieces of legislation that would protect victims, especially in court proceedings, as well as eliminating the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases in civil lawsuits.

“We have a platform, let’s raise that awareness, and let’s encourage more people speaking out or people coming forward to protect their loved ones,” said Hwang.

“Our services are free and confidential,” said Greenwood. “The hotlines are on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please call, call the hotline if you have any concerns or questions. You can be anonymous.”

The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Center for Family Justice both have several resources for those in need.

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