March 15, 2007
By COLIN POITRAS, Courant Staff Writer
For years, domestic violence counselors in Connecticut have struggled to help victims when incidents occur late at night.
Callers to the state domestic violence hot line might be forwarded to the state information line after 9 p.m. or passed to an answering service where a certified counselor would eventually call them back.
But those are precious minutes lost to a person afraid of being hurt, advocates say.
On Wednesday, House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, and a group of counselors and advocates urged the General Assembly to approve an additional $2.25 million for the state's 18 domestic violence programs to assist victims 24 hours a day.
"If a victim of domestic violence has nowhere to turn in a traumatic time of need, then shame on us," Amann said in a prepared statement issued at a press conference in the Legislative Office Building.
Advocates are asking the legislature's appropriations committee to include the money when they revise Gov. M. Jodi Rell's proposed $17.5 billion budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year beginning July 1. The appropriations committee has until April 19 to hash out its version of a new spending plan.
The additional money would allow shelters and domestic violence centers to hire more staff. Currently, only three of the 18 domestic violence programs in Connecticut offer 24-hour assistance, said Linda Blozie, director of public affairs for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an East Hartford-based nonprofit organization.
Blozie said $2.25 million "might sound like a lot of money but when you divide that by 18 programs running 24 hours a day, it's really not that much."
In the past fiscal year, Connecticut domestic violence programs served 54,641 victims. They provided shelter to 2,031 women and their children and received about $3.8 million in combined state and federal support.
Besides emergency shelters, domestic violence programs offer victims 24-hour hot line support, social and legal services, transportation and counseling.
Victims of domestic violence can get help by calling the 24-hour hot line at (888) 774-2900.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at