DAS Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2022

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month which was first established in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and launched nationwide in October of 1987. The goal of Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to unite those working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness and supporting domestic violence victims and survivors, holding abusers accountable, and advocating for legislative and other policy changes


State of Connecticut General Statute 46b-1 defines domestic violence as “a continuous threat of present physical pain or physical injury against a family or household member” defined as stalking, a pattern of threating, or coercive control of such family or household member that in purpose or effect unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will and personal liberty. Coercive control of the family or household member includes isolation from friends, relatives, or other sources of support, deprivation from basic necessities, controlling movements, communications, daily behaviors, finances, economic resources, or access to services, and compelling by force, threat, or intimidation. 


Domestic Violence impacts people of all races, ages, sexual orientations, religions, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, and education levels with 10 million people becoming survivors of domestic violence every year, equaling 20 people every minute. 


This past legislative session, the State of Connecticut passed a bill adding victims of domestic violence to its list of protected classes effective October 1, 2022. This addition prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee based on their status as a victim of domestic violence by: 


  • Prohibiting an employer from denying an employee’s reasonable leave of absence in order to: 

  • Seek attention for injuries caused by domestic violence

  • Obtain services including safety planning from a domestic violence or rape crisis center, 

  • Obtain psychological counseling related to an incident or incidents of domestic violence,

  • Take other actions to increase safety from future incidents of domestic violence, or

  • Obtain legal services

  • Requiring an employee who is absent from work to provide a certification to the employer upon request.

  • Ensuring that employees who have a physical or mental disability because of an incident or series of incidents of domestic violence will be treated in the same manner as any other employee with a disability.

  • Stipulating that, to the extend allowable by the law, employers will maintain confidentiality of any information regarding an employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence. 


With 96% of survivors reporting problems at work as a result of their experiences with domestic violence, adding victim of domestic violence as a protected class will help ensure that domestic violence related demands such as health concerns, divorce, temporary homelessness, depression, and trauma do not become barriers in a victims ability to retain their employment. 


With this new addition, the list of protected classes in the State of Connecticut now encompasses race, color, religious creed, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, intellectual disability, genetic information, learning disability, physical disability, mental disability, military or veteran status, criminal record, and victim of domestic violence.


If you or a loved one are survivors of domestic violence, or if you are interested in learning more, please review the resources below. 


This blog post includes the term “victim of domestic violence” because that is how it is referenced in Senate Bill No. 5. DAS EEO would like to acknowledge that many who have experienced domestic violence may identify more with the term “survivor of domestic violence” because it implies progression over stagnancy and serves as a term of empowerment.  


Resources for survivors of domestic violence: