Hartford, CT - Over one (1) in five (5) college women report actual physical abuse, sexual abuse or threats of physical violence by their partner, according to the 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll conducted by Break the Cycle, a national organization that provides comprehensive dating abuse prevention programs. Additionally, more than half (57%) of college students surveyed who report having been in an abusive dating relationship said it occurred in college.
CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) applauds the efforts of the General Assembly's Women's Caucus to codify federal law that requires college campuses to report incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and intimate partner violence, as well as establish related policies and provide support services to victims.
Recognizing the importance of this issue, last fall CCADV partnered with the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children's Medical Center/Hartford Hospital to conduct a statewide needs assessment of college and university policies and procedures in regards to intimate partner violence. The assessment aims to describe current campus policies and procedures, awareness and prevention activities, and services available for victims of intimate partner violence.
CCADV and its project partner will issue a report later this spring with key findings and recommendations for a model campus policy on intimate partner violence to help promote safer campus environments. Additionally, stronger reporting requirements in federal law will enable Connecticut to more fully assess the level of intimate partner violence on college campuses.
"National research indicates that over half of all college students report that they don't know how to help a friend who is experiencing dating violence," said Karen Jarmoc, Executive Director, CCADV. "A statewide needs assessment will result in a model policy that will help college campuses address intimate partner violence. CCADV looks forward to working with legislators to ensure that best practices related to dating violence are included in any proposed legislation.
Jarmoc continued, "Of equal importance is the statutory reporting requirement that will lead to concrete data which can assist policy makers to more fully understand and address this issue. Such a centralized reporting mechanism as part of the proposal will certainly fill a void."
The federal Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013 (VAWA) extended the Jeanne Clery Act to include acts of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking to a list of major crimes that all U.S. colleges and universities participating in Title IV financial aid programs are required to report. It also requires these colleges and universities to create plans to prevent domestic violence and educate victims on their rights and resources. These requirements are effective as of March 7, 2014.
In 2012, State Representative Mae Flexer (D-Killingly), who chairs the Speaker's Task Force on Domestic Violence, championed legislation that requires courts to, upon request of the victim, notify a college or university where the victim is enrolled of such an order to help ensure the continued safety of that victim. "Almost half of all dating college women surveyed in a national poll report experiencing some form of violent or abusive dating behavior," said Rep. Flexer. "It is critical that we work with our state's colleges and universities to ensure adequate policies that protect and support victims, as well as hold offenders accountable for their actions."
Last October, CCADV released Connecticut's first statewide plan on the prevention of intimate partner violence. As part of that plan, CCADV is developing basic training for schools and institutions on intimate partner violence prevention, as well as evidence-based Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Toolkits for use by educators, administrators and various other professionals.
Connecticut law defines domestic violence as any incident of physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or threat of violence, including but not limited to stalking or a pattern of threatening between family or household members. Intimate partner violence falls within this category when the violence occurs between current or former spouses, persons who are currently in or have recently been in a dating relationship, or persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever been married or lived together. While sexual assault may be a type of intimate partner violence, such violence can take many forms including physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial. To learn more, visit www.ctcadv.org.