HARTFORD — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Friday announced an available increase in federal funding for domestic violence services and training nationally.
Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, made the announcement at the state Capitol with Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Blumenthal noted there have been 13 domestic violence related homicides in the state this year.
Locally, Perrie Mason of Meriden was reported missing on Aug. 18 and her body was found in Waterbury less than a week later. Her death has since been ruled a homicide. Her ex-boyfriend, Jason Watson, was arrested and charged in connection with a domestic violence incident that occurred on Aug. 15, according to police. Watson has not been charged in Mason’s death.
In Cheshire, Monica Pinto Dominguez died after being stabbed inside her home on Sept. 17 during a reported domestic incident. Her husband Emanuel Dominguez-VillaGomez faces murder charges.
The House of Representatives passed $500.2 million in funding for next year under the Violence Against Woman Act — an increase of a little more than $10 million from this past year. The funding has not yet been re-authorized by the Senate. Blumenthal said the increase represents a response to the number of calls domestic violence agencies across the state receive each day. Connecticut’s statewide domestic violence hotline received more than 33,000 calls for service between July 2018 and July 2019.
“Every year more than 33,000 calls come into these agencies,” Blumenthal said. “These 33,000 calls are literally cries for help, pleas for life saving services that these agencies provide. And often they are from women with children who are desperate for this help that only these agencies can provide.”
Jarmoc said there are 18 designated domestic violence organizations throughout the state. About 400 advocates work around the clock to help victims and survivors. The state’s domestic violence shelters consistently operate at about 121 percent of capacity. This causes families to be housed on couches and in play rooms, she said.
The funding will go towards shelter, law enforcement trauma response training, data collection, counseling and agency support.
“I can assure you that these resources are critical to the work that is happening on the ground,” Jarmoc said.
The funds will also go to support legal services and fostering a collaboration between agencies and systems to “ensure strong interventions and supports when survivors reach out,” Blumenthal said.