By Alyssa Martin, New Horizons Program Director
2021 has been a year of incredible change at the state and federal levels regarding legislation designed to provide better services and safety measures for families experiencing violence.
At the state level, Governor Lamont signed Public Act 21-78, also known as “Jennifer’s Law”, into law on July 27, 2021. This new state statute provides several protections related to family violence cases, including:
- Expands the definition of abuse for Temporary Restraining Orders to include coercive control;
- Requires landlords to change locks on individual units for victims with orders of protection;
- Establishes legal representation for eligible impoverished victims when applying for a restraining order; and
- Includes numerous other provisions to benefit victims.
At the federal level, President Joe Biden signed the VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) Fix into law on July 22, 2021. The Victims of Crime Act provides funds for domestic violence programs for case management, court advocacy, and other vital services. Over the past four years, VOCA funding was cut by two-thirds. This cut resulted in fewer resources for service providers across the United States, which meant less support for victims of intimate partner violence.
Through the VOCA Fix, intimate partner violence providers once again are able to use federal funds to help survivors access counseling, forensic exams, and other important services to ensure all survivors have what they need to escape a life of violence.
These sweeping legislative changes at both the state and federal levels give the survivors of Connecticut more resources, safety, and support. New Horizons looks forward to implementing these changes, ensuring that the survivors of Middlesex County continue to have the steadfast support that the community has relied on for over 40 years.