Advocacy

YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services 2016 Policy Priorities

 

Removing weapons from domestic violence offenders

Reduce victims’ risk of death or harm by permitting courts to order that individuals subject to a temporary, ex parte restraining order surrender firearms and ammunition when a victim is determined to be facing an immediate and present physical danger.

Improving service of restraining orders

We support recommendations of the 2014-2015 legislative Task Force to Study Service of Restraining Orders that will lessen the burden on the victim to initiate service, strengthen communication between the victim, the court and the authorized agent of service, and to improve the rate of successful service of the orders.

Providing time for victims to find safety

Allow for an optional 12-hour hold for persons charged with the commission of a family violence crime, subject to the review of the facts of the arrest by the releasing entity including the use of a risk assessment tool to determine risk to the alleged victim.

Advocating for victims in family court

Funding should be allocated to support one full-time Family Violence Victim Advocate in each of the state’s domestic violence organizations who is dedicated solely to civil matters, including assistance with applying for restraining orders and safety planning for those victims in family court. Currently the state only funds four such advocates, leaving victims in 11 family courts to navigate the system alone.

Improving outcomes for children

We support recommendations of the 2015-2016 Task Force to Study the Statewide Response to Minors Exposed to Domestic Violence. Recommendations must create strong policy, procedures and cross-system collaborations that prioritize the physical, emotional and psychological needs of children who witness fatal and non-fatal domestic violence, while maintaining victim confidentiality.

Strengthening school-based prevention

Increase educational and training opportunities for both students and educational professionals in grades K-12 regarding healthy relationships and teen dating violence. Efforts should address the full inclusion of teen dating violence in the state’s Safe School Climate.

Enhancing judical best practices

Promote offender accountability and victim safety throughout judicial proceedings by ensuring that the judicial and victim service systems collaborate to establish best practices and strong communication.

Funding the rising cost of services

Allocate adequate funding that keeps pace with the rising cost of providing services that non-profits, including domestic violence organizations, face as they contract with the state to provide health and human services on its behalf. A mechanism should be established that addresses annual inflation, ensures rates and grant allocations cover the full cost of service, and allows nonprofits to meet federal and state wage requirements.

For more information, go the Domestic Abuse Services section.