Domestic violence law will help victims financially and in other ways

As part of the state’s ongoing efforts to address domestic violence, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a bill Friday that allows victims to get temporary financial support along with more privacy in the courthouse, among other benefits.

The bill empowers the Judicial Department to set up a system for the offender to provide temporary financial support as part of the relief available to the victim through a civil restraining order.

“Ninety-eight percent of all domestic violence has to do with financial abuse as well,” said state Rep. Mae Flexer, D- Killingly, who chairs the Speaker’s Task Force on Domestic Violence. “It involves controlling the finances and being able to influence and intimate the victim that way so they feel financially threatened. This sets up a system where, if a victim chooses to leave, the offender still has to pay the bills.”

The bill also requires court administrators to make sure there is a separate, secure waiting area for domestic violence victims in the courthouse. Until now, the lack of space meant some victims would have to meet in the corner of the courtroom with the victim’s advocate, with the offender in the same room, Flexer said.

In addition, the bill requires probation officers to notify victim’s advocates of certain probation violations. It also allows sexual assault victims to terminate a rental agreement without penalty under certain circumstances.