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Domestic violence cases on the rise in Connecticut

Domestic Violence Awareness

Connecticut (WTNH) — WTNH has been digging into domestic violence numbers in our state after a string of cases throughout 2019. The numbers are staggering — 13 domestic violence confirmed homicides last year in Connecticut.

Nearly 40,000 victims of domestic violence seek help in Connecticut each year, according to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Several recent domestic violence cases have generated widespread attention in our state.

Last summer, Perrie Mason, of Meriden, was killed. Police say her fiance is the main suspect. Her body was found outside his place of work three days after she was reported missing.

Last fall in Waterbury, Janet Avalo-Alvarez was killed. Her body found in Wolcott. Police say her boyfriend is the main suspect in her death. He is nowhere to be found, but his car was located at Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Friends say he ran to the Dominican Republic.

At the time, the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence said Avalo-Alvarez was Connecticut’s tenth intimate partner violence homicide of the year.

Then, December 2nd in Ansonia, Christine Holloway was found dead in her home from blunt force trauma. Her one-year-old daughter, Vanessa Morales, has been missing ever since.

Police say Holloway’s boyfriend and Vanessa’s father, Jose Morales, is the prime suspect in Holloway’s death and in Vanessa’s disappearance.

Most recently, a deadly officer-involved shooting in Ansonia Thursday prompted further calls for domestic violence victims to get help. It came from Ansonia’s Police Chief after a woman managed to get to the police station Thursday night, saying her boyfriend was at her home being physically confrontational and violating a no-contact protective order.

Police say he had previously been arrested because of a prior domestic violence incident involving the same woman. When officers got to her home on Myrtle Avenue, three officers confronted the woman’s boyfriend — saying he charged at them with a knife — prompting one officer to open fire.

The man, now identified as 30-year-old Michael Gregory of Ansonia, later died at Griffin Hospital.

News 8 asked Ansonia Police Chief Andrew Cota what message he has for people who may be caught up in dangerous, volatile relationships:

“That’s the exact point. They’re volatile, domestic situations that can spiral out of control quickly. The best we can do is we can offer our services, we have people that can help anybody that’s involved in a domestic situation who is fearful or afraid, we can get them services. We can get them into shelters. The first step is getting to us, letting us know and that’s usually the most difficult step.

– Ansonia Police Chief Andrew Cota

Cindy Carlson, with The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services, says a new program is allowing law enforcement and domestic violence advocates to work better to help victims.

“They call the advocates and talk with the advocates directly and offer victim services right on the scene and it’s a very important collaboration with victims, law enforcement, and advocates because it creates a safety net for people.”

– Cindy Carlson, The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services

Here’s another new and improved way domestic violence victims can get help here in Connecticut. Back in December, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that contains more than $500 million for the “Violence Against Women Act”.

If enacted into law, Connecticut would receive some of those funds to better help domestic violence victims here.

The state has established an enhanced statewide Domestic Violence Hotline — now available 24/7 via text, chat, email and by phone. It’s called “Safe Connect.” It can be accessed by logging onto ctsafeconnect.org or by texting or calling 1-888-774-2900.

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