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‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ has little meaning to victims of domestic violence, but there is help in area for those in need

Author: Erica Drzewiecki; New Britain Herald
Published: April 22, 2020

When home is where the hurt is, ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ has little meaning.

Luckily, for victims of domestic violence, there are still open shelters and resources available, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to be on the front lines as our service is open and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Barbara Damon, executive director of the Prudence Crandall Center.

The organization provides emergency shelter, transitional and supportive housing to victims of domestic violence hailing from New Britain and Bristol, and towns in between, including Southington, Plainville, Berlin and even as far as Plymouth.

Staff has remained on-site in Prudence Crandall’s emergency shelter and others working remotely continue to provide counseling over the phone, by video chat and email.

“We’re finding that the greatest increase in need right now has been for help with basic food and supplies and funding to meet monthly expenses,” Damon pointed out. “So many of our folks we serve have either lost a job or lost their childcare and are really struggling right now.”

Families living in Prudence Crandall’s shelter have separate bedrooms and can safely distance themselves. Other survivors have remained in housing at undisclosed locations and some are staying in hotels for the time being.

“This is a time filled with anxiety and stress for all of us, but particularly those experiencing the trauma of abuse,” Damon pointed out. “There is a lot of need for emotional support and counseling at this time.”

Prudence Crandall’s most pressing need right now is financial.

The organization’s annual fundraising dinner was postponed along with all other large group gatherings and events. Unforeseen expenses due to the novel coronavirus have also posed a challenge.

“Every year we rely on the community to fund about 30 percent of our operating budget,” Damon explained. “We need to raise $650,000 to meet our current needs. We need the community now more than ever.”

The center has received donations of face masks and meal deliveries. Monetary donations are strongly encouraged at prudencecrandall.org.

Other agencies that help victims include the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV). CEO Karen Jarmoc was one of several panelists to speak during a virtual conference this week.

When the pandemic began in early March, Jarmoc said, domestic violence shelters were already at 130 percent capacity across Connecticut.

The CCADV runs CTSafeConnect.org, an online resource where victims of violence can seek help. It’s being utilized even more now that victims are forced to be at home, Jarmoc said.

A bright spot in this pandemic: for people who need to file a restraining order, it is now possible online.

Thanks to an April 3 ruling by the Honorary Michael Albis, the state’s chief administrative judge of family matters, restraining orders can be filed remotely at https://jud.ct.gov/remote_restrain.htm.

In this time of crisis, advocates are still available to help 24/7 at CTSafeConnect. All services are confidential, safe, free and voluntary. Call 888-774-2900.

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at edrzewiecki@centralctcommunications.com.

Source: New Britain Herald; ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ has little meaning to victims of domestic violence, but there is help in area for those in need. 

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“Challenge” to Raise Funds to Sustain Life-Saving Services

Earlier this year, the government shutdown impacted vital funding to Prudence Crandall Center, high-lighting the importance of private donations to sustain the agency’s vital services for victims of domestic violence. One local couple has decided to challenge others to join them in making that happen.

A generous board member and long-standing supporter of the agency, Lynn McArthur-Lefler and her husband Gary Lefler, have offered a “challenge” to jump-start the agency’s annual fund-raising breakfast, Celebrating Hope. Through their $25,000 Leadership “Challenge”, the couple will match the first-year gift of any new member of Prudence Crandall Center’s Bright Futures Giving Society, in effect doubling these donations. The couple will also match other contributions of $1,000 or more, up to the $25,000 limit.

The Bright Futures Giving Society is currently comprised of 28 community members who pledge $1,000 a year or more (through monthly, quarterly or annual gifts) over five years, providing a vital foundation of annual support that is used to bridge funding gaps in services agency-wide.

According to Ms. Lefler, Prudence Crandall Center’s Bright Futures Giving Society gives the agency a critical foundation of private funding it can count on over time, to fill annual funding gaps and weather unexpected changes, like the shut-down. As the board development chair, I’ve seen first-hand the difference private contributions have made for the agency during challenging times. But we know we have more work to do.”

“Gary and I are incredibly proud to support the work of Prudence Crandall Center, and want to do everything we can to make sure these life-saving services are there, always, for victims and children at their time of need,” said Ms. Lefler. “We’re grateful to be able to make this gift and hope others will be motivated by our match to double the impact of their gift this year, as well as be part of the celebration of the Leadership Challenge at this year’s Celebrating Hope breakfast with us.”

The Leflers’ generosity and innovative challenge has already inspired several community members to join in. Through their challenge, the Leflers hope to raise $75,000 in total contributions to strengthen the agency’s services now and in the future.

“Increasing private contributions has been a top priority for us over the last several years,” said Barbara Damon, Prudence Crandall Center’s executive director. “As a local, private nonprofit, we already need to raise 30% of our funding from our community each year, which can be a struggle. We know we have to re-double these efforts, so that we can build reserves to protect against any interruption in services.”

Regarding the Leflers’ challenge, Ms. Damon remarked, “Lynn’s leadership as our development chair continues to make an incredible difference for us, making our agency stronger every year. We are deeply grateful for Lynn and Gary’s personal commitment, and for the amazing inspiration they are providing to others through their Leadership Challenge gift this year. It’s so wonderful that their challenge gift gives others the chance to join in and watch that total grow! We look forward to sharing the results at this year’s breakfast, and celebrating with everyone who contributed.”

This year’s Celebrating Hope breakfast will be held Friday, May 31st, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bristol. The event’s Presenting Sponsor is once again the Petit Family Foundation, which has generously sponsored the agency’s signature fund-raising events for over a decade. For information about sponsorships or the Leflers’ Leadership Challenge, please contact Carolyn Jasper, Development Director, at (860)259-3817 or cjasper@prudencecrandall.org.

To contribute, please click below:

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February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness Month

Nationwide, 1 in 3 teens reports being physically, sexually or emotionally hurt by their partner. According to the CT Department of Public Health, 17% of CT high school students report being emotionally abused by a dating partner and 8% report being physically abused by a dating partner (2011 School Health Survey Youth Risk Behavior Report). And early exposure to abusive or violent relationships increases the likelihood of those types of relationships being repeated later in life.


Communicating with young people
about dating violence
is the first step in ending abuse.



Teen Dating Violence (TDV) is a pattern of abusive behavior in a dating relationship where one partner uses power in an attempt to control and coerce the other. TDV can occur in opposite sex or same-sex relationships regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, education or socio-economic status.

TDV can take many forms including:

  • Physical, such as hitting, slapping, punching and shoving.
  • Verbal, emotional and/or psychological such as public or private name calling or put-downs, exhibiting extreme jealousy or preventing their partner from seeing family or friends.
  • Sexual, including coercing your partner to have sex when she/he is not ready, demanding sexual photos or using date rape drugs.
  • Technological, such as tracking someone using GPS on a mobile device, monitoring someone’s text messages or emails without their knowledge or permission, or sending threatening or harassing messages via social media.



Teen dating violence is not an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day. Dating violence is a pattern of violent behavior that someone uses against their partner to gain control.

  • About 72% of students in 8th and 9th grade report “dating” by the time they are in high school, 54% of students report dating violence among their peers.
  • About one in 11 teens reports being a victim of physical dating violence each year.
  • About one in four teens report verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual violence each year.
  • About one in five teens reports being a victim of emotional abuse.
  • About one in five high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • About 70% of girls and 52% of boys who are victims of dating violence report an injury from a violent relationship.
  • Approximately 8% of boys and 9% of girls have been to an emergency room for an injury received from a dating partner.
  • Adolescents who experience dating violence not only are at increased risk for injury, but are also more likely to report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and sexual activity.
  • Rates of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use are more than twice as high in girls who report physical dating violence or sexual abuse than in girls who report no violence.


81% of parents believe teen dating
violence is not an issue or admit
they don’t know if it is an issue.



It is important to understand the warning signs for dating violence so you can help teens develop healthy relationship attitudes and behaviors/

These “red flags” should alert you to the possibility that a teen may be a victim or is at risk of becoming victim of dating violence:

  • Suspicious bruises, scratches, or other injuries
  • Failing grades
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Excuses their dating partner’s behavior
  • Fearfulness around their dating partner or when his or her name is mentioned
  • Avoidance of friends and social events
  • Does not go out without their partner


Take teens seriously when they talk
about their dating relationships and
ask for clarification if needed.


What can you do to help end Teen Dating Violence?

Have a conversation with the young people in your life; ask them to download the td411 app. 

It’s critical that teens have access to information about healthy dating behaviors and warning signs that their relationship might be abusive. CCADV’s mobile app, td411, does just that. td411 provides essential information to teens in a manner that makes sense for them – through their phone or mobile device. The app answers questions that they may be too afraid to ask and includes interactive tools to help them learn about their relationship and to connect with a counselor if they need someone to talk to. Encourage teens to download td411 so they have it readily accessible in case they or one of their friends needs help.

td411 lets you…

  • Learn healthy behaviors for dating relationships and the signs of abusive behaviors
  • Take the Dating Quiz to see where your relationship falls
  • Check out important safety tips and ways that you can stay safe
  • Use the search function to find the nearest counselor


Wear orange on Friday’s during February. Post your images on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to show your support and raise awareness. #TDVAM #PCC_CT

Send your photos to emysliwiec@prudencecrandall.org so we can share them on our Facebook page!


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6th Annual Festival of Women’s Voices


The West Hartford Women’s Chorale will sponsor their annual Festival of Women’s Voices on March 30th at 4:30 PM in the Auditorium of Conard High School, West Hartford. This special concert features special guest composer Kathleen Allen, Glastonbury High School Treble Choir, Voce di Coeli Hall High School, Another Octave: Connecticut Women’s Chorus, and West Hartford Women’s Chorale.

This is the sixth “Festival of Women’s Voices” hosted by the West Hartford Women’s Chorale. The festival involves student and adult choirs performing various pieces of music including those of a female composer, who is invited to conduct a workshop with each group prior to the performance.

The proceeds from each Festival Concert are earmarked for an organization that helps women and girls in the Hartford area. This year the recipient will be the Prudence Crandall Center, which has been providing comprehensive services for victims of domestic violence since 1973.

In January 2004, 14 women, who shared a love of music, were inspired to form a women’s chorale in West Hartford, to enrich the local community’s cultural life. Fifteen years later the West Hartford Women’s Chorale is now a group of almost 100 women from all over the Greater Hartford area conducted by Dr. Ethan Nash and accompanied by Barbara Robbins.

From its inception, the Chorale has focused on enriching its members and the surrounding communities through the enjoyment of music. All women who love to sing are encouraged to join the chorale, without requiring previous musical experience. At the same time, this non-audition group performs a variety of challenging classical, jazz, and popular musical pieces, providing a supportive, learning environment for both the chorale’s members and its audiences at several community events, as well as its own stand-alone concerts.

The Chorale also supports musical education in the community by providing an annual scholarship to a graduating senior from the area’s Public Schools. It has provided young artists performance opportunities, as well as raising funds for charitable organizations.

For more information visit www.WHWChorale.org

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Mary Kay Foundation

Thank you to The Mary Kay Foundation for our $20,000 grant! These funds will help us continue to maintain critical services and programs for domestic violence survivors in Connecticut!

The Mary Kay Foundation was created in 1996 and its two-fold mission includes funding women’s cancer research and ending domestic violence. Over the course of more than two decades, The Mary Kay Foundation has awarded more than $78 million to women’s shelters and domestic violence service providers, as well as cancer research programs and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about The Mary Kay Foundation and its mission, visit marykayfoundation.org or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).

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For the third year in a row, Papa’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM is having a ‘Fill the Van’ donation drive to support Prudence Crandall Center! The outpouring of support from their staff and customers has been amazing, resulting in the delivery of a van-load (or two!) for our families just in time for the holidays.

The donations, gifts and household essentials that are collected help our families get established as they begin new lives, free from violence.  Many of the essentials are also used to welcome victims and families into our emergency shelter every year.  Too often, individuals and families fleeing an abusive home leave most of their belongings behind.  And for low-income families facing a time of crisis, the holidays can be particularly stressful.  These donations let them know that the community supports them, and they are not alone, as they make that brave first step towards a safe and brighter future.

The donation drive will run until December 17.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook to see the big delivery arrive on December 18th!

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Dress Down & Go Purple to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month

You can spread the word to prevent domestic violence!

Join our “Dress Down and Go Purple” campaign and help raise awareness at your school, work, or place of worship. We’ll provide you with brochures, posters, warning signs cards, and handouts.

You pick the day and encourage everyone to wear purple!

Let’s get talking and take a stand – together, let’s end the violence!

For information contact 860-259-3820 or mcarlson@prudencecrandall.org

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CE Electrical Charity Golf Tournament to benefit Prudence Crandall Center


2nd Annual

CE Electrical Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit
Prudence Crandall Center


October 11, 2018 • Lyman Orchard Golf Course

Join us for a day of bogeys, mulligans, & maybe a hole-in-one!

Check-in  –  10:30 am

Shotgun – 12:00 pm

Dinner  – 5:00 – 7:00 pm


Player Levels:

General Level – $10,000

Major Level –  $5,000

Colonel Level – $3,000

Captain Level – $1,500

Private Level – $175.00 per golfer


Sponsorship Opportunities:

Lunch Sponsor – $2,500

On Course Beverage Sponsor – $1,500

Player Cart Sponsor – $1,500

Bar Sponsor – $1,000

Practice Green Sponsor – $500

Driving Range Sponsor – $500

Flag Sponsor – $500

Tee Sign Sponsor – $250

Dinner Ticket Only – $100


If you would like to sponsor, donate a raffle prize or need more information,

please contact Paul Morneau at 860-304-5670 or email pmorneau@ce-electrical.com

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Help be the change CT needs

Connecticut has a serious problem with Dual Arrests, Bill SB466 is being considered to address this issue and we need your support!

411 on Dual Arrests:
A dual arrest occurs when both the victim and their abuser are arrested at the scene of a domestic violence incident. Connecticut’s intimate partner dual arrest rate is 20%, which is more than twice the national average of 7% (these are incidents specifically involving spouses, exes, dating partners, and individuals who have a child in common). This has been a 30 year, statewide challenge for Connecticut. This trend cuts across diverse socio-economic communities through rural, suburban, and urban settings.

Dual arrests have both short- and long-term consequences for victims, families, and the criminal justice system:

  • Decreases victim safety – When a victim is dually arrested, it has a chilling effect on that victim’s willingness to call the police for help in the future. This makes the victim much less safe moving forward.
  • Financial consequences – The victim is now thrust into the criminal justice system as a defendant and may need to hire an attorney, miss work to attend court dates, or hire childcare to attend court dates.
  • Additional trauma for children – When children see the parent they identify as the “true victim” arrested, they often develop a similar distrust of police and the criminal justice system.
  • Hinders prosecution – Dually arrested victims have little incentive to cooperate with the prosecutor because they themselves are facing prosecution. A dual arrest also raises “reasonable doubt” for defense attorneys who can point to the inability of law enforcement to determine what truly happened.
  • Overburdens courts – According to the CT Judicial Branch, family violence cases make up 1/3 of the criminal docket. Thousands of these cases include dual arrests, potentially needlessly adding to an already congested court system, impacting its administration and costing more money.

Here is what you can do to help!
Email Your Legislators
It is important to email your legislators and urge their support of this bill. It is best not to send bulk emails to legislators but to email them individually.
Co-Sponsor – Be sure to ask your legislators to co-sponsor the bill! Having a broad list of co-sponsors helps to demonstrate support for the bill and makes it easier to get the bill called for a vote on the floor.
Submit a Letter to the Editor
You can submit a letter to the editor to your local paper.
Use Social Media
Here are some sample social media posts that you can use to urge support. Be sure to check and see if your legislators have social media accounts and tag them in the post! Also, please be sure to tag CCADV so that we can share your posts with our followers, which includes several legislators. CCADV social media profiles: Twitter – @CTCADV, Facebook: @CTCoalitionAgainstDomesticViolence. You can also tag Prudence Crandall Center: Twitter: @PCC_CT, Facebook: @prudencecrandallcenter.

Did you know? In CT, about 20% of intimate partner violence incidents result in a dual arrest. That’s more than twice the national average of 7%. It’s time for a change! CT should adopt a dominant aggressor law. #PassSB466 #Change #DualArrestCT @Rep/Sen____ @CTCADV @PCC_CT

Victims who are arrested in a dual arrest are less likely to call the police for help in the future greatly diminishing their safety. It’s time for a change! CT should adopt a dominant aggressor law. #PassSB466 #Change #DualArrestCT @Rep/Sen____ @CTCADV @PCC_CT

Children who witness both parents being arrested suffer additional trauma and may develop a distrust of the criminal justice system. It’s time for a change! CT should adopt a dominant aggressor law. #PassSB466 #Change #DualArrestCT @Rep/Sen____ @CTCADV @PCC_CT

Here is a link to Find Your Legislators. Use this to find legislators based on your mailing address.

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