Advocate: Domestic Violence Cases Need Quicker Handling
By JENNA CARLESSO The Hartford Courant
HARTFORD — - In an effort to patch up what she called a "colossal systematic failure," State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz released a report Monday with recommendations to streamline state agencies' handling of domestic violence cases.
The report, which took more than 18 months to complete, retraces the steps taken by Jennifer Magnano, the 42-year-old Plymouthmother of three who fled to California with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Magnano was shot to death by her husband when she returned to Connecticut for a court-ordered custody hearing in 2007. Her husband, Scott Magnano, later turned the gun on himself.
The Office of the Victim Advocate is recommending the State's Attorney's Office develop a fast-tracking system for processing warrant applications to ensure applications are reviewed by a prosecutor within 24 hours. It also calls for better training for police in investigating domestic cases and a coordinated effort with police and the Department of Children and Families.
"I think we can do better," Cruz said.
Some of the recommendations were accepted by state agencies, while others will be a work in progress, she said. Cruz didn't specify which recommendations were accepted.
She did highlight some of the systematic flaws she said occurred when Magnano sought help escaping from her husband. Magnano was turned away from shelters because she had an adult daughter with her, despite the children's lack of independence. Magnano was also told she would have to wait two weeks for funding to become available for her to stay in a hotel or motel, Cruz said, prompting her decision to flee to California.
During a brief appearance at the state Capitol Monday, Magnano's relatives asked that the recommendations be met with thoughtful consideration.
"I am convinced my daughter would be with us today if she received the help and shelter she'd pleaded for," said Robert Gauthier, Magnano's father. "We hope that this will not fall on deaf ears. We hope the proposals are put into use."
Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant
About time and well needed. This country isn't much better at treating women, than others. We need a lot of help here in the USA, when it comes to helping women and children to be safe.
Judybeth (11/30/2009, 1:36 PM )