Shelter executive: Domestic violence a stubborn problem

NEW BRITAIN — Like shelters for victims of domestic violence around the state, the Prudence Crandall Center has been running at, or over, capacity consistently for at least the past year and a half.

It’s a trend that has been escalating since 2008 and it doesn’t appear to be subsiding, said the center’s executive director, Barbara Damon.

“The need has continued to grow and that’s happening statewide,” Damon said.

Not only has the demand for shelter statewide increased 125 percent since 2008, the demand for services including support groups, court advocacy, counseling, safety planning and basic needs has also risen.

“The number of domestic violence victims seeking safety in our emergency shelters has grown immensely over the past eight years,” said Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, the umbrella agency that encompasses the state’s 18 domestic violence programs, including Prudence Crandall.

“Our shelters were at 57 percent capacity in FY (fiscal year) 2008 and now we’re at 125 percent. These women, men and very young children have nowhere safe to go. We are continuously reviewing strategies to sustain this life-saving service,” she said.

Prudence Crandall Center runs a 22-bed shelter, transitional housing and permanent housing for individuals and families seeking to escape abuse and move on with their lives. It also offers support groups, counseling, court advocacy and other services for victims in New Britain, Plainville, Southington, Bristol, Plymouth, Kensington, Burlington and Terryville.

Damon admitted that she doesn’t have a concrete answer as to why the need for shelter has increased so much in the past eight years. “I haven’t seen anything to indicate that there is more violence,” she said.

But there has been more education and more awareness that services are available — from counseling to shelter — and a push by local police departments to use a lethality screening tool when they respond to a reported domestic violence incident. About half the police departments in the state use the tool, which is a set of 11 questions for the victim to determine the potential lethality of the domestic relationship.

Police can call the state’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline to help victims arrange for emergency shelter based on the tool, Damon said.

An average of 14 people a year have died from 2000 to 2014 in Connecticut as a result of domestic violence, according to information gathered by the state’s fatality review board. In the past few years, however, the number has gone down to 11 or 12.

“Lethality screening hopefully has contributed to fewer deaths,” Damon said.

All victims seeking emergency shelter must go through the hotline. Victims don’t need to be referred by police or by the state’s 211 system which helps residents seeking shelter of any type find emergency housing.

Damon said the key to reducing the need for emergency domestic violence shelters is to stop the cycle of domestic violence through education and awareness. “I know we have to address the trauma of domestic violence for victims and their children,” she said. “But we also need to be in the schools and to provide programming for youth on healthy relationships.”

But with the state facing another year of budget deficits, Damon is concerned about cuts and what less money would do to a shelter system that is already over-stressed. “Any cut at this point would mean a cut in services,” she said.

About 25 percent — $450,000 — of the agency’s budget comes from donations. The reality is it needs more, Damon said, to continue to work within the community to help victims and provide education and awareness to stop the cycle of domestic violence. “We need that amount in donations just to keep on doing what we’re doing,” she said.

If you need help with domestic violence, call the state’s 24-hour hotline at 888-774-2900. Services are free and confidential.

To donate to Prudence Crandall, visit

Source: Shelter executive: Domestic violence a stubborn problem

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Prudence Crandall Center Holds Candlelight Vigil to Remember Victims

Prudence Crandall Center (PCC) held it’s annual “Silent No More” Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm to remember those who have lost their lives in the past year due to domestic violence in our state, and to raise awareness about this widespread issue impacting all of our communities.  The Vigil was held at PCC’s Rose Hill Campus, located at 594 Burritt Street in New Britain.  The event was open to the public.

This year, the Ryan T. Lee Memorial Foundation is the Vigil’s first-ever Community Partner Sponsor.  As such, the foundation is playing a critical role in supporting PCC’s efforts to raise awareness and prevent future violence.  Ryan T. Lee Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the enduring spirit of a special young man by actively seeking out opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.


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Hope Tour

Join us for 1 hour to experience powerful stories of strength & survival.
Tour our unique Rose Hill facility.

Be moved & inspired!

Prudence Crandall Center regularly offers Hope Tours at its Rose Hill facility. Hope Tours are offered twice a month from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

Hope Tours are a great way to:

– Learn more about the various programs at Prudence Crandall Center
– See how community involvement supports victims of domestic violence
– Be inspired to get involved and make a difference

Our Hope Tours are also a wonderful to way to experience, first-hand, the lives changed with your support. During our tour, which begins with some fellowship, you visit one of our apartments, tour our unique facility, and–most importantly–hear stories of courage and hope from survivors we have served.

Upcoming Hope Tours:

  • • Wednesday, January 31
  • • Wednesday, February 14
  • • Wednesday, February 21
  • • Wednesday, March 7
  • • Thursday, March 22

Everyone is welcome! We just ask that you call ahead so we can reserve your spot.  If you would like to receive a schedule of upcoming dates or RSVP for a tour, call 860.225.5187, ext.23.

We can also hold group tours at different dates or times if one of our scheduled tours doesn’t work for your group.

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Petit Foundation donates $5,000 to Hoops for Homeless

The organizers for the fourth annual Hoops for Homeless basketball extravaganza accept a $5,000 donation from the Petit Family Foundation.

NEW BRITAIN — Dr. William Petit understands that kids who are homeless face greater obstacles when it comes to getting an education.

He also knows that the fourth annual Hoops for Homeless basketball extravaganza slated for April 30 on the streets of downtown New Britain will go a long way toward helping homeless kids get a leg up when it comes to school and having a stable life. (more…)

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Teens & Parents: Know the Facts about Digital Dating Abuse

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New Beginnings Spring 2016 Newsletter

Please read our New Beginnings Spring 2016 Newsletter.


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If the person you’re dating shows a pattern of controlling or abusive behavior toward you, that’s dating violence. Teen dating violence can include any type of abuse: physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional. It doesn’t always include physical violence. Dating abuse can happen to anyone in any relationship – starting as early as age 11!


The warning signs of teen dating violence are easily missed. Many people don’t know what to look for, so they overlook red flags within their own relationship. Most signs of dating violence are subtle changes in feelings and behaviors over the length of the relationship.

Do you:
– Feel afraid of your boyfriend/girlfriend?
– Feel pressured to be more committed or sexually active?
– Feel constantly put down by your significant other?
– Feel less close to your old friends or family?
– Ask permission from your partner to go somewhere?
– Dress or style yourself differently because they tell you to?
– Constantly need to check in with your boyfriend or girlfriend?
If any of these describe you, you might be in a controlling relationship.


Talk about what’s going on with anyone who will listen without judging. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a parent or teacher, try the free mobile app! Download the td411 app from the Apple AppStore or Google Play to text for help when it works for you.

You can always call our help line too! Our counselors are here to listen, answer your questions, and help you decide what’s best for your unique situation – even if you’re not sure whether you or a friend are in a controlling relationship.

Our help line number is: 1-888-774-2900


If you don’t feel free to be yourself around your bae, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Dating violence is really about control – someone who truly loves you won’t want to control you.

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