Press "Esc" to Quick Escape

A new tab will open and this page will redirect to Google.
X

transparent

  • Welcome

    We are excited to present our new responsive website to Rhode Island. Here you will find information on various topics related to domestic violence and the work we are doing to end it. The site is designed to provide resources to individuals experiencing abuse so that they can get the help they need. It is also a valuable tool for people who want to help and for those who want to get involved. Check back often for updates, and share your feedback with us so that we can better serve you.

    Read More
  • $500 Video Contest!

    It's Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month! From now through Sunday, March 1, we're asking Rhode Islanders ages 12 through 24 to submit videos on Vine, Instagram, or Twitter that show what it means to help a friend in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. The 1st place winner gets $500! #KnowMoreDoMore Read More
  • Latino Outreach

    Oprima el botón “Read More” para acceder a nuestro sitio web en Español.

    At the RICADV, we proactively serve the Latino community, collaborating with Rhode Island businesses to further our reach to those experiencing abuse. During our public awareness campaigns, we have partnered with Telemundo, Providence en Español, and Latina 100.3 FM to help Latino communities know that help is available through our member agencies. Each agency offers diverse programs and services that can include safety planning, court advocacy, shelter, and support groups. Immigration help is also available. Access our website in Spanish by clicking the "Read More" button below or En Español at the top of this page.

    Read More
  • Member Agencies

    The RICADV's six local domestic violence agencies provide a wide array of services for victims, including 24-hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, counseling services, and assistance with the legal system. For more information about these organizations and services, call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100 or click below. If you see or hear someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

    Read More
  • Communities Can Help

    Last October, we launched our KNOW MORE. DO MORE. campaign in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Our goal was to help different sectors of the community – including health care, the workplace, faith, and Latino communities – take action to end domestic violence. When communities take a stand as leaders on this issue, individuals are more likely to have the support they need to act. That's when we'll see real change in Rhode Island. That's how we'll put a stop to domestic violence. Learn more about our 2014 campaign by clicking below.

    Read More
  • We Give Support.

    As coworkers, employers, businesses and organizations, we have the ability to help those experiencing domestic violence. The workplace often serves as a location where abusers can readily access their victims, and relationship abuse can greatly impact victims' job performance in other ways, too; for instance, victims lose an estimated 8 million days of paid work each year due to domestic violence, the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs. These problems only serve to exacerbate the financial abuse that occurs in 98% of abusive relationships. An easy way to begin creating a safe workplace environment is to display materials on domestic violence in visible, accessible areas. Click below to view DVAM 2014 posters that you can hang in your office.

    Read More
  • We Listen.

    Health care providers are often the first to learn about the domestic violence that their patients may be experiencing and are in a unique position to help prevent future abuse. Listening to patients is a critical first step. During DVAM 2014, the RICADV connected with members of Rhode Island's health care community to help them know more about the steps they can take to address domestic violence. We partnered with the Rhode Island Medical Society, which published an article written by RICADV staff in the October issue of Rhode Island Medical Journal. View the article by clicking below.

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7

The Newsroom

thenewsroom main

Latest News

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Unveils New Leading-Edge Responsive Website Tailored to Support Victims and Engage Bystanders

The redesigned website optimizes user experiences in a format that adapts to mobile devices and raises the visibility of statewide services for victims along with resources on how to help

Read More: Latest News

Inherent and Civil Parental Law vs. Civil Custody Law

CCVS icon small

By Renee’ F. Brissette

The natural, Divine, and even governmental laws of parenting have been thrown into a dangerous quandary by the perplexing family court rulings throughout this country that are forcing many to ask, who knows what is in the best interest of our children? As a parent, I strive to love, care for, protect, and teach my children well with the hope that they will become the best person they can be—leading happy, healthy, and productive lives.  I think it is safe to say that this is what most parents try to do for their children. These desires and tendencies may stem from an inner maternal/paternal instinct coupled with a moral and spiritual compass. 

So, when children are young, to protect them from harm, we teach them how to tie their shoes, to not touch hot stoves, to not talk to strangers, and look before they cross the street. As they get older we teach them lessons of right and wrong, kindness and cooperation, to not hang with the “wrong” crowds, to “say no to drugs,” and to never stay anywhere or go with anyone who they are not safe with. It is not only natural and/or Divine law that leads parents to protect, care, and provide for their children — it is the law of this country.

Yet, parents across the states are being faced with a legal and moral conundrum.  While the government laws require parents to care for and protect their children on the one hand, family court systems, in case after case, are ordering them to place their children in harms way. The latest case making news headlines just this past week involves a mother in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina who had to choose to do what she knows is in the best interest of her children, or complying with a court order. 

This mother of two children, a 7 and 4 year old, in Charlotte, NC, faced possible imprisonment last week for refusing to send her children to court-ordered custody visits with their father. Their father, David Edward Kennedy, is a proven drug abuser and federally indicted drug trafficker who has submitted a signed  confession to the charges. In November, upon his indictment, the mother petitioned the court for emergency custody indicating that, considering Kennedy’s drug use and trafficking, she was worried about her children’s safety.

The Court denied her petition. WCNC 36 News in North Carolina quotes the judge’s reason, “Even if he was indicted with 20 kilos of cocaine…there has to be some danger to the child.  If the child was in the car with him while he was making a drug deal or subjecting a child to maybe guns, then I could see the emergency.”  Believing that her children’s safety and wellbeing are more important than her freedom, this mother refused to comply with the Court’s order to leave her children in a situation she believed was dangerous. 

Last Thursday the mother appeared for a Contempt of Court hearing facing the threat of imprisonment; however, the judge in the case held making a ruling and, although not stopping visitation completely, made provisions for supervised visitation for the time being.  The irony in this case, as in many cases, is that state agencies remove children regularly from the custody of parents such as Kennedy for being unfit and putting their child in potential danger, while the family court systems are forcing parents to put their children in situations and with people that are unsafe. 

Cases like this one in North Carolina are more common than thought to be, and are not limited to cases involving drugs, but also issues of physical and sexual abuse of children, domestic violence, etc. Speculation of reasons as to how this happens is vast, whether it be a judges “personal bias” as suggested by the mother’s attorney in this case, lack of sufficient evidence, or limitations set forth by existing laws and court procedures.

Realizing that there is no single, simple reason for this, nor a single, simple solution, a Rhode Island group determined the cause to be systemic. In 2007, the group, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), a taskforce of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is an organization of survivors of Domestic Violence, began to take a closer look at the RI family court system specifically focusing on custody and visitation cases involving domestic violence through the Child Custody and Visitation Solutions Project.  

Through a collaboration of lawyers, advocates, Roger Williams University, court representatives, judges, and survivors of domestic violence, the project culminated in 2010 with the publishing of Safety for Children; A report on the impact of Rhode Island’s custody system on victims of domestic violence and their children. (The full report with all of its findings can be viewed at http://soarinri.org/.)

The report not only looked at the physical, emotional, and financial impact the family court system has on victims and children of domestic violence, but sets forth constructive, viable solutions to minimize its harmful impact and keep children safe. 

            The Child Custody and Visitation Solutions Project found that  “children continue to suffer violence and abuse during the child custody and visitation process.”  It found that:

  • “Violence continued to be a part of children’s lives, even as their victimized parent sought safety, in an overwhelming majority of the cases reviewed, 89% of the survey respondents stated that their children witnessed domestic violence before and/or during the custody and visitation process.

  • According to survey respondents, 71% of their children were also abused by the abusive parent, and many of these children suffered from more than one type of abuse.

  • Moreover, 53% of the survey respondents reported that the child abuse occurred during visitation.

  • Despite this, 58% of the participants’ cases where abuse was present were decided in favor of joint custody.

  • According to these survey results, the majority of children suffered some negative emotional and/or psychological consequences from the process. At least two parents in the survey commented on suicidal behavior by their children: "My five-year-old said she didn’t want to live, life was ‘too difficult’.”

Cases like this one in North Carolina again brings attention to the wide-spread, systematic problems that exist relating to child custody and visitation in America. Through court decisions like that in Kennedy’s case, and the hundreds involved in the Safety for Children report, parents are forced to make heart-wrenching decisions — be a law-abiding citizen by turning their children over to a dangerous individual and/or situation, or refuse and face imprisonment. In efforts to keep their children safe, parents have been forced to take serious actions including leaving their homes, jobs, friends, and families and to go into hiding with their children or stay and face jail and the possibility of their children being taken away from them by the court; neither choice a positive option. 

Many states are working at solutions to prevent such situation, and some are making great strides.  A key is to keep dialogue open and awareness high while working together for viable solutions such as the revision of custody and visitation laws, policies, and procedures within the systems.  This case is a reminder of the work still left to be done. We can fly rockets to the moon — a once thought to be impossible feat. Surely, together, we can formulate and implement successful solutions in their best interest to keep our children safe.

{jcomments on}

Communications Center

  • Communicating our work to end DV is vital +

    Communicating the work to end domestic violence is vital. Visit our Communications Center and The Newsroom to KNOW MORE. Read More
  • Public Awareness +

    Raising awareness to end domestic violence is part of our mission. Learn how we keep the issue visible in our communities. Read More
  • Handbook for Journalists +

    The media can help break the silence and educate the public. Visit our online guide for journalists covering domestic violence.
    Read More
  • 1

Site Search

Teen Center

teencenter web

KNOW MORE: Relationship abuse happens among teens, too. Visit our Teen Center during the launch of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in February 2015 for interactive tools!

Spotlight

  • Be Tech Safe
  • News & Events
  • 35 Years of Progress
  • AmazonSmile

websafety shutterstock 238686259 web

Your abuser may monitor your Internet use and may be able to view your computer activity.

To immediately leave our site and redirect to a different site, click on the box to the bottom-right of our website or hit the ESC (Escape) key on the upper-left of your keyboard.

If you feel that your computer is not secure, use a computer in another location that your abuser cannot access.

For more information and tips for staying safe online and on your devices, click "Read More" to visit the Privacy & Technology section of our website.

Read More

cal shutterstock 238987036

Looking to get involved in the movement to end domestic violence
or just want to KNOW MORE?

Visit our Calendar of Events to find a myriad of local and
social media events.

Read More

spotlight image lisaleslie35th Anniversary Celebration

In 2014, the RICADV celebrated 35 years of progress in advocating for victims and holding abusers accountable.

On October 9, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we commemorated this milestone with special guest Lisa Leslie, WNBA legend, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and supporter of the national NO MORE campaign against domestic violence.

We thank everyone who has played a part in helping us move our work forward. Together we can end domestic violence.

Visit our 35th anniversary page to watch a special video, view photos of the event (coming soon!), and more.

Read More

AmazonSmile-webWhat is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the RICADV every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at http://smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the RICADV.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Choose the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence to support us. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation.

About the RICADV

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. We were formed in 1979 to support and assist the six domestic violence prevention agencies in Rhode Island. We provide leadership to our member agencies, strive to create justice for victims, and raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

Member Agencies

The RICADV's six local domestic violence agencies provide a wide array of services for victims, including 24-hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, counseling services, and assistance with the legal system. For more information about these organizations and services, call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100 or click here. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

 

Contact Details

422 Post Road, Suite 102
Warwick, RI 02888-1539

T (401) 467-9940

F (401) 467-9943