For the first time ever at the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater, The Center for Family Justice held a 6-town regional Domestic Violence Awareness Vigil. Lit up in purple, the event remembered the 32 lives lost as a result of domestic violence last year in Connecticut. For each of the lives, a memory box honored them highlighting their likes, hopes, and dreams, all cut short because someone who said they loved them ended their lives. From the youngest victim, a one-month-old baby, to the oldest, a seventy-five-year-old woman, each life was precious and mattered.

While tragic to hear, the evening included messages of hope and inspiration through song and dance for all 450+ in attendance. Speakers encouraged attendees to speak out against acts of domestic violence and sexual abuse in their cities and towns. Community leaders, police chiefs and politicians from Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull participated in the vigil, sharing suggestions for ways people can work to end domestic violence and abuse.

Just hours after the evening ended, news broke that three Bristol, Conn. Police officers were shot, which left CFJ’s CEO, Debra Greenwood, staff and supporters reeling.

“We are saddened and devastated to hear of the three officers in Bristol that were shot on Wednesday evening, two fatally, just hours after our vigil ended, who were responding to a domestic violence disturbance. As we’ve all said numerous times, we know a 911 domestic violence call is one of the most dangerous calls an officer can respond to. Just Wednesday evening we said this again to over 450 in attendance at our annual multi-town domestic violence vigil,” Greenwood shared, continuing, “We stand with law enforcement and first responders and send our sincerest condolences to the officers’ families and to the Bristol Police Department. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and always, we are appreciative and grateful for all that law enforcement does to keep our communities safe.”

The Center has seen an uptick of 32 percent since the pandemic began, and calls since the vigil and police shooting has staff and volunteers fielding dozens of calls on their 24/7 hotlines.

“We want people to know where to turn when they’re in a dangerous situation and that we’re here for them. From free emergency shelter, to food, clothing and free and low-bono legal services, we’re doing everything we can to get the word out to victims that ‘Hope Starts Here,’ we’re here for you and we believe you,” said Greenwood.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence explains domestic violence as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.”

Domestic violence doesn’t always come in the form of physical assault. Abusers may use coercion, threats and intimidation to control their partner’s relationships and communications with others. They intimidate and use emotional abuse to put down and diminish their victim’s self-confidence and sense of self-worth. They gaslight and minimize their own toxic behavior, blame the victims and deny their abusive actions to avoid taking responsibility. Some use financial abuse to limit victims’ access to money, prevent them from leaving, and isolate their partner from friends and family.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be impacted by some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. The Federal Department of Justice estimates rates impacting the LBGTQ community are even higher.

During the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Center is hosting several initiatives for those who want to put an end to the violence and killing in our communities.

  • Wednesday, October 19: Supporters can donate to the #GiveForDV Day by clicking here. Please donate $32 or more to honor the 32 lives lost last year because of domestic violence
  • Thursday, October 20: Wear purple for Purple Thursday, a national day of action intended to raise awareness about domestic violence and an easy way for people to show their commitment to promoting healthy relationships. Take a photo of yourself wearing purple and share it on social media using the hashtag #PurpleThursday
  • All Month Long: Join us in our monthlong awareness and fundraising campaign #Hairdos4Hope Get a purple streak or hair extension and upload a nine-second video or a selfie using the hashtag #Hairdos4Hope and #9SecondsOfHope Please donate $32 or more to CFJ to symbolize the 32 lives lost last year as a result of domestic violence in CT and encourage friends to do the same. The significance of the nine-second video is to bring attention to the fact that a woman is assaulted every nine seconds in the U.S. Help us honor Connecticut’s 32 victims by helping us to fund the lifesaving, critical services we provide to individuals who are impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault and human trafficking. Together, we can make a difference.
  • Year-Round Annual Appeal: Supporters, can donate to CFJ’s Annual Appeal called “Faces of Hope.” Your gift to The Center for Family Justice helps ensure that CFJ can provide necessary services to clients impacted by domestic and sexual violence and child abuse. Click here to donate.

If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse in their lives, The Center for Family Justice offers free, confidential services to adults and children impacted by abuse. Our free and confidential 24/7 crisis hotlines are available by calling (203) 384-9559 for issues related to dating and domestic abuse and (203) 333-2233 for sexual violence.

Debra A. Greenwood is the President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice, which provides free, confidential services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in the communities of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.

About The Center for Family Justice

The mission of The Center for Family Justice is to break the cycle of domestic, sexual, and child abuse and violence by providing services that create hope, restore lives and drive social change through education and community collaboration. Our vision is to end domestic and sexual abuse and violence in our communities. We believe that:

  • Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Collaboration with our clients, partners and communities is vital to achieve individualized choice, success and empowerment.
  • Trust is essential for our work in building self-sufficient survivors.
  • Compassion and hope allow people to thrive and feel safe.
  • Community education, awareness and outreach are essential to drive and maintain social change and justice.

For more information about The Center for Family Justice, visit or call (203)334-6154. The Center for Family Justice is located at 753 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, CT and serves the towns of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford, and Trumbull.24/7 Hotline Numbers:

  • Domestic violence (203) 384-9559
  • Sexual abuse (203) 333-2233
  • Spanish (888) 568-8332