Information for those charged with domestic
What to Expect from Family Services:
1. How does Connecticut define “Family Violence”?
Often referred to as “domestic violence,” Connecticut law defines “family violence” as an event between family or household members that either causes physical injury, or creates fear that physical injury is about to happen. Family or household members include people who are related, people who are, or were, married, people who live together, people who have a child together, and people who are, or were recently, in a dating relationship. The law does not view verbal abuse or arguments as family violence unless there is present danger, and it is likely that physical violence will happen. In addition, the law does not view parents’ or guardians’ acts in disciplining minor children as family violence unless abuse happens. Family violence is not a separate crime, and any crime that also involves injury or a fear of injury to a family or household member can be charged as a family violence crime. Examples of crimes that may be charged as a family violence crime include, but are not limited to, assault, kidnapping, disorderly conduct, breach of peace, and sexual assault. In addition, family violence crimes may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the facts of the case.
2. What is the law in Connecticut related to domestic violence?
These links offer resources and are provided as a starting point for research.
Services for Victims of Domestic Violence5. What services does the Office of Victim Services (OVS) provide to victims of domestic violence?
What to expect from Family Services:The Family Relations Counselors who work in Family Services will:
12. What is a protective order and how
long will it be in effect?
A protective order is an order issued by a judge to protect a victim in a criminal case that involves assault, threatening, stalking, harassment, sexual assault, or risk of injury to a child. This order may require you to keep from restraining, threatening, harassing, assaulting, molesting, or sexually assaulting the protected person, to stay out of the protected person’s home, and or to keep from hurting or threatening to hurt any animal owned by the protected person. This order will stay in force until your criminal case is over or the order is changed by the Court.
If you are convicted of any of the crimes listed above, a family violence crime or, under certain circumstances, any other crime against a family or household member, though, the criminal court may issue a standing criminal protective order when it thinks that your history and character and the facts of the case require it. Like protective orders, standing criminal protective orders may tell the defendant not to restrain, threaten, harass, assault, molest, sexually assault or attack the victim, or may tell the defendant not to go into the family home or the victim’s home. Standing criminal protective orders will stay in force for as long as the court decides unless the court decides later that the order should be changed or revoked.
Referral to Family Services:
13. How do I get referred to Family Services?
If you are arrested for a family violence crime, A Family Relations Counselor will interview you before your first court appearance. After you are arraigned, the Family Relations Counselor will tell the court whether the Counselor thinks you should be referred to Family Services.
If you are the victim of a family violence crime, the Family Relations Counselor will make a referral to have a Family Violence Victim Advocate to get in touch with you. The Family Relations Counselor may also speak to you at the court hearing.
14. I was referred to Family Services by the Court for an assessment. What will happen next?
You will get a date and time for an interview with a Family Relations Counselor. You may get this appointment while you are in court or you may get a letter in the mail with the date of the appointment.
You will need to come to this meeting on time. If you cannot keep the appointment you should call the Family Relations Counselor who has been assigned to your case.
A report will be sent to the court, indicating if any services like the Family Violence Education Program are appropriate for the court to consider.
15. I have been placed under pre-trial supervision with Family Services. What do I need to do to successfully complete my supervision period?
A list of providers who have committed to following the standards of the
Domestic Violence Offender Program Standards Advisory Council can be found
17. What is the Family Violence Education Program?
Family Violence Educational Programs (FVEP): The FVEP is a pretrial program that gives eligible defendants the chance to attend programs that provide education about family violence instead of going to trial. Any defendant who wants to take part in the FVEP must submit an application to the court. If the court grants your application, you will have to take part in nine, 90 minute sessions of a psycho-educational class that is focused on reducing any future family violence. If you complete this program successfully and follow any other conditions set by the court during the time that you are in the FVEP, the court will dismiss the family violence charges against you. Classes are offered all over the state by community providers who have contracts with the Judicial Branch.
Explore is a group-based program for men who have been convicted of domestic violence crimes against female intimate partners. The court can either refer you into this program or make taking part in this program a condition of your probation. You will be required to take part in 26 weekly classes that are 90 minutes long. The classes for this program are offered all over the state by agencies that have contracted with the Judicial Branch.Evolve is a behavior modification group-based program for male offenders convicted of domestic violence crimes against female intimate partners. The court can either refer you into this program or make taking part in this program a condition of your probation. The classes meet twice a week for 26 weeks (for a total of 52 sessions), and are currently available in Bridgeport, New Haven, New London, Norwich, and Waterbury by agencies that have contracted with the Judicial Branch.
Restraining ordersA restraining order is an order from the court that tells someone to stop hurting or threatening a protected person. The order can be against:
To register for notification please complete the Confidential Request for Notification of Status of Inmate. All requests are confidential. Every person who registers for notification is responsible for telling OVS about changes to his or her telephone number and/or address. For more information, please call OVS at 800-822-8428, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Victims of domestic violence have certain rights defined by Connecticut and federal laws. These rights include the right to:
29. How do I receive notification about court dates?
Crime victims or individuals interested in a specific criminal case may register to receive notification from the Connecticut Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification System (CT SAVIN). Registration is free and confidential and you may register in English or Spanish. You may receive notifications in English, Spanish, Portuguese or Polish. Learn more about SAVIN
30. I have questions about divorce and custody. Can I contact a Family Services office for general information?
Yes, you may contact a Family Services Office for help with your questions; however, the office cannot give legal advice. This website contains a list of local Family Services’ Offices.