State's domestic violence laws are strengthened

Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced June 6 that he signed legislation that will strengthen the state’s domestic violence laws.

The bill, which was approved by unanimous votes in both chambers of the General Assembly, amends the criminal statutes governing stalking to include stalking via social media, telephone, and other forms of harassment, tracking and intimidation; changes the strangulation statutes to include suffocation; and enhances the penalty for violation of the conditions of release, among other things.

According to the governor's office, some of the main provisions included in the bill will:

  • Expand the conduct that constitutes stalking to include conduct that causes a reasonable person to suffer “emotional distress;”

  • Specify that electronic or social media are among the methods, devices, or means by which conduct that constitutes 1st or 2nd degree stalking may occur;

  • Broaden the strangulation statutes to include suffocation when a person obstructs another person's nose or mouth;

  • Increase the penalty for violations of release conditions when the violation involves certain conduct; and

  • Require a presentence investigation for anyone convicted of a family violence felony for which a prison sentence may be imposed and prohibits such a defendant from waiving the investigation.

The legislation is Public Act 17-31 – An Act Concerning Strengthening Laws Concerning Domestic Violence .   It takes effect Oct. 1, 2017 .