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With your help, we've made great strides in the movement to end domestic violence in Rhode Island. We now invite you to stand with us, our task force of domestic violence survivors (SOAR - Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), and six member agencies (Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, Women's Center of RI, Women's Resource Center) on March 11 as we let local leaders KNOW that we must all come together to prevent domestic violence.
Future generations need us to do the work involved in creating healthy communities that are free of violence. Our children have a right to a peaceful world where the threat of domestic violence no longer exists. Building this future is our responsibility and can be our legacy.
So please join us as we propel our movement forward on this special day. Let our collective presence send the message that the statewide domestic violence community is strong and committed to this issue. NO MORE. Together we can prevent and end domestic violence.
Visit our policy center for more information about NO MORE Day and prevention efforts in Rhode Island.
Register here if you're planning to attend! Sign up for legislative action text alerts to stay in the KNOW about our activities this legislative season. Simply text the word prevent to 51555 to receive text message updates from the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (By subscribing, you agree to the terms and conditions for messaging and mobile giving.Text help for technical support or stop to unsubscribe to 51555. Standard message and data rates may apply.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 31, 2012
CONTACT: Reza Clifton, RICADV: (401) 467-9940, Cell: (401) 497-5246
Statement by Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Kristin Lyons, Executive Director of the Women's Center of Rhode Island
"First and foremost, our hearts go out to the family, friends and community of Michelle Busby. Though not much has yet been released about her murder, her death is a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go to achieve a Rhode Island that is free of violence in the home and free of intimate partner violence."
"Domestic violence escalates to the point of murder because our system has failed to either keep a victim safe or hold an abuser accountable. In the case of Ms. Busby's death, we know that the "person of interest," Andrew Jett, was arrested in 1992 and convicted and sentenced to 40 years in 1995 for the brutal beating murder of Stephanie Oxendine, his off-and-on girlfriend with whom he had two children. What remains unclear is why he served so little time for the killing; records indicate that Mr. Jett was released on parole in 2010 after only serving 18 years."
"This gray area is part of a series of important questions that this case helps bring to the surface. Why wasn't Mr. Jett's original charge documented as a domestic violence crime given the nature of the relationship between Mr. Jett and Ms. Oxendine – which clearly met the standards of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act? What are the parole board's considerations when releasing the perpetrator of such a brutal act? Did Mr. Jett have disciplinary infractions while incarcerated, and, if so, how did that impact his eligibility for being released early into the community? There are also questions about the systems that were supposed to monitor Mr. Jett after he was released. Was the State aware Mr. Jett was living with Ms. Busby (his residence should have been known as part of the supervision mandated for violent offenders)? What are the standards for approving private community service options for violent criminals?"
"All too often, victims may be hesitant to contact the police for many reasons, including fears of retaliation from the abuser, insecurities about losing support from the abuser or developing guilt about the possibility of his/her incarceration. In addition, victims may lack faith in the system when they see that people are let out early and are able to reoffend. That is why we are concerned about the policies carried out during the parole process and why we are calling for a thorough review of parole protocols and procedures. In cases of domestic violence, we need systems to assess an abuser's dangerousness and prevent future instances."
"We question, in this case, what could have been done to keep the victim safe. Leniency unfortunately sends the message to abusers that they will not be held accountable for their crimes, while simultaneously jeopardizing the safety of victims. But we also recognize that eliminating violence against women demands a comprehensive and coordinated effort between elected and appointed officials, government and non-government organizations and agencies, community leaders, businesses, public organizations and private citizens. The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its six member agencies are here to help through a wide array of services, including analysis and monitoring of the legal system, support groups, emergency shelters, and a 24-hour hotline to support victims and answer questions. We urge all Rhode Islanders to remember that if they hear or see someone being hurt to call 911 immediately, and if they or someone they know needs support to call 800-494-8100."
This statement has been updated to reflect the fact that, to date, Andrew Jett has been identified as a person of interest, and his recent arrest is tied to a parole violation.