15 Jun Jennifer’s Law
Earlier this year, the Connecticut Senate voted 35-1 to expand state law regarding domestic violence. The expansion will incorporate nonviolent acts, such as coercion, control, financial, or psychological abuse in the definition of domestic violence.
This revolutionary change was rightly named “Jennifer’s Law” after Connecticut’s own Jennifer Magano, who was murdered by her husband in front of her children in 2007, and Jennifer Faber Dulos, a 50-year-old woman New Canaan woman who went missing in May 2019. Her husband, Fotis Dulos, was arrested and charged with her murder, but he later died by suicide in January 2020.
The bill introduces the concept of “coercive control” over a domestic partner as domestic violence. “Coercive control” includes “isolating the household or family member from friends, relatives, or other support, depriving the household or family member of basic necessities.” The definition further includes “regulating, or monitoring the household or family member’s movements, communications, daily behavior, finances, economic resources, or access to services.”
Notably, the details also include “committing or threatening to commit cruelty to animals that intimidates the applicant.”
The reformed bill is designed to protect not only domestic partners or spouses, but children, too; Jennifer’s Law will place child safety as the primary factor to consider in custody cases.
The Law will serve as a tool to judges who can now act when they recognize someone is facing “psychological warfare,” as Senate President Martin Looney put it.
Now, more than ever before, a domestic partner or spouse who is a victim of domestic violence through coercion or control can come forward knowing the law is on their side.