The Connecticut Legislature has sent a bill to the governor’s desk that seeks to end having victims of domestic violence arrested along with their abusers because they fight back during the course of an assault, reports ProPublica. For years, Connecticut’s domestic violence victims have been at risk of “dual arrests” — instances in which police arrest both the victim and the perpetrator of domestic violence. The state has a dual arrest rate of about 18 percent in “intimate partner” incidents, a 2017 ProPublica analysis found. The average for the rest of the country is about two percent.
The rates were much higher in certain communities: 35 percent in Windsor and 37 percent in Ansonia. The new law would require law enforcers to determine which party is the dominant aggressor — that is, who initiated the abuse. The bill passed both houses of the Connecticut Legislature last week. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to sign it into law. Advocates and others, including some in law enforcement, had long sought to end the risk to victims of violence. Victims arrested along with their abusers often faced humiliation, the cost of hiring a lawyer, and even a lasting criminal record.