NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — State officials and advocates say incidents of domestic violence are rising.
It’s something that Cheryl, who asked for her last name to not be used, has experienced firsthand. She said she was physically attacked, but that the breaking point was to see her daughter with a shoe imprint on her spine.
She was able to get her two children out, crediting Safe Futures, a domestic violence organization based in New London, for saving her life.
“Don’t ignore the signs,” she said. “Make that call, make that text.”
Safe Futures connected her to an emergency shelter and services for her children — something the group is having to do even more than before.
Meghan Scanlon, the CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that shelters have been operating at 150% over capacity.
In 2022 nearly 13,000 people contacted the state’s domestic violence information and resource hotline, Safe Connect, and 37,000 survivors were helped at 18 domestic violence organizations across the state. About 7,000 domestic violence survivors were at a high risk of being killed.
“It’s been busy,” said Geetha Prabha, the hotline coordinator for Safe Connect.
The hotline receives about 20 calls within an eight-hour shift.
The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that the numbers for physical violence, especially, are increasing.
“Whether it’s from COVID and being isolated, we don’t really know,” said Katherine Verano, the CEO of Safe Futures.
Two new laws hope to help.
The “dual arrest” trains officers to identify true offenders during an incident, and protect victims from potentially being arrested. The Lori Jackson law enables law enforcement to take guns away from domestic violence abusers before a victim is threatened, shot or killed.
“We passed that law, and that provides a shield of protection for victims of domestic violence,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said.
Resources for domestic violence survivors are available online. The Safe Connect hotline can be reached by call or text at (888) 774-2900