NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - State police and advocates are raising awareness about domestic violence in Connecticut.
They held an event on Friday featuring friends of Jennifer Farber Dulos, whom investigators believe was murdered by her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos.
During the arrests and arraignments of Fotis Dulos and his former girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, state police said they wore purple ties and pins in honor of Jennifer Dulos and all domestic violence victims.
Troopers said staggering numbers show that there are nearly 40,000 victims of domestic violence in Connecticut each year.
Jennifer Dulos is believed to be one of those victims, state police said.
"We stand here today seeking justice for Jennifer and for all the women and children whose lives have been lost," said State Senator Alex Bergstein, a Democrat from Greenwich.
Bergstein is pushing for legislation to help protect families. She blames family courts for not making child safety a priority, and her bill would make domestic violence and abuse the first factor assessed by the court in all legal proceedings regarding child custody.
Domestic violence services in Connecticut have been expanded, thanks to a large federal grant. CTSafeConnect is a new program that brings 18 state organizations together. There is a 24/7 hotline where those who take calls speak many different languages, which is (888) 774-2900.
CTSafeConnect can be found by clicking here.
"We know that in the first two months we have received calls from people in crisis, referrals, safety planning, and legal advice,” said Karen Jarmoc, of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The hotline, which is run by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, provides help to more than 33,000 adults and more than 4,000 children.
Those who call are often ashamed and leaving an abusive spouse can sometimes be more dangerous.
"The most hurtful thing you can say to a victim is ‘why did you stay. Why haven’t you left.’ There are a myriad of reasons why people cannot leave their intimate partner,” said Mary-Jane Foster, of Interval House.
Fotis Dulos' attorney, Norm Pattis, released a statement about the push.
"Jennifer's disappearance remains a tragic mystery," Pattis said. "Using it to advance legislative change is mere crisis mongering. Hysteria is not a sound basis for public policy."