Connecticut will use one million dollars of federal stimulus money to keep some domestic violence shelters across the state staffed around the clock. WNPR’s Ray Hardman has more.
Governor Jodi Rell notified the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence of the money over the weekend. Currently only two of the 18 domestic violence shelters are staffed 24/7. Most victims of domestic violence who go to a shelter are locked-in when the last staff person leaves at night. This raises serious safety concerns, and according to Enfield State Representative Karen Jarmoc, causes the residents, who are already in a vulnerable situation, another level of anxiety:
"It's the nighttime hours when things start to come unraveled a bit, especially when the children are put to bed and a woman is alone and scared, and questioning, is she doing the right thing - it's during those nighttime hours when truly a woman in crisis who is a victim of domestic violence needs that staff support."
Jarmoc is the former executive director of the Network against Domestic Abuse. She says the federal stimulus money will help, but is not a systemic fix to round the clock staffing at the shelters:
"The stimulus money is a one-shot deal, it's not a continuous source of funding, so while it does sound wonderful, it is not a real strategically well thought out plan on the part of the executive branch in terms of how do we address this issue."
The CCADV will use the millions dollars to add ten full-time staffers at five locations. Connecticut has also received $545,000 in federal stimulus money to preserve five domestic violence prosecutors in the state.
For WNPR, I’m Ray Hardman.