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Rhode Island: One Step Closer to Preventing Domestic Violence

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 15 on the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund that would create a critical source of funding for primary prevention programs

Community members are invited to stand with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence in support of a violence-free world for future generations

 

[PROVIDENCE – April 15, 2014] Domestic violence can be prevented—with increased resources and community involvement. Domestic violence advocates, survivors and others from the community will testify and voice this message during the House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for today, Tuesday, April 15. Rhode Island is one step closer to receiving the vital funding it needs to enhance the capacity and sustainability of the few prevention programs that do currently exist and to create other robust programs that will have a far-reaching impact.

The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (H-7188) was introduced in the House by steadfast champion in the movement to end domestic violence Rep. Elaine Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket), Democratic Caucus Chair, as well as Rep. Eileen S. Naughton (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), Deputy Chairwoman; Rep. Joy Hearn (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence); Rep. Katherine Kazarian (D-Dist.63, East Providence); and Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett).

If passed, the bill would – for the first time – create a steady stream of state funding for domestic violence prevention programs by increasing the cost of a RI marriage license to $70. These resources would help alleviate the burden on local agencies born out of the consistent, comprehensive cuts to federal and state funding, which have limited their ability to invest in prevention. A $46 marriage license cost increase would constitute less than a 0.1% increase in cost for the average wedding in RI. Rhode Island has not increased this one-time fee since 1990. It is one of the lowest in the U.S., and the majority of other states already use marriage license fees to fund essential domestic violence programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes domestic violence as a serious public health issue, one that community members must play a role in preventing. This bill proposes a simple, cost-effective way that Rhode Islanders can be a part of the solution to a problem that affects every community in the state.

"Our goal is to prevent and end domestic violence in Rhode Island by cultivating connected, peaceful communities. This goal is not impossible, but in order to make it a reality, we need to take steps toward violence-free futures right now, and that requires an investment of our time and money. The funds generated by the passing of this bill into law would be used to stop domestic before it starts. Crisis intervention services provide invaluable lifelines to those impacted by domestic violence, and we must continue to supply them, but we must also focus on primary prevention if we wish to end domestic violence," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.

Prevention work supports strong, healthy communities and is instrumental in decreasing the risk factors for domestic violence. Rhode Island's domestic violence advocacy community has seen the benefits of primary prevention first-hand and is helping to set the stage nationally for the development of promising programs and best practices. Nearly 10,000 Rhode Islanders sought multiple crisis services for domestic violence in 2013, and 13 lives were lost. Allocating state funds to prevention programming is not optional; it's imperative.

Many different sectors of the Rhode Island community already support this issue. Domestic violence advocates, supporters, concerned community members and local press joined the RICADV, its six member agencies* and its task force of domestic violence survivors, SOAR - Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships, for a gathering at the State House on March 11, 2014, which both bodies of the Rhode Island General Assembly declared as NO MORE Day. Their collective presence challenged RI lawmakers to proactively confront domestic violence before yet another tragic loss of a family member, neighbor, colleague, classmate or friend. "NO MORE inaction or passivity around finding solutions to prevent domestic violence" was the message felt and heard by everyone wearing the teal symbols of the campaign.

"We can change the attitudes and beliefs that breed violence. Emerging research shows that primary prevention programs are working to decrease violence in our communities. By addressing the root causes of domestic violence and not only its symptoms, we are moving forward, toward a Rhode Island in which our families no longer suffer and our communities are safe. Through programs such as the Primary Prevention Institute and Ten Men, male allies in the movement to end domestic violence, we are coming together to address this community health issue and create a world where domestic violence doesn't exist—our children deserve this freedom, and imparting it can be our legacy," added DeBare.

The message is clear. Together we can PREVENT and END domestic violence. Support the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund on April 15. It's time to say NO MORE.

The complete text of the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (H-7188) can be found on the Rhode Island General Assembly's website.

 

About the RICADV: The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. The RICADV was formed in 1979 to support and assist the six domestic violence prevention agencies in Rhode Island. The organization also provides leadership to its six member agencies (*Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, the Women's Center of Rhode Island, and the Women's Resource Center), strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

The RICADV's member 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. And if you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

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Working together to help domestic violence survivors

[PROVIDENCE – March 31, 2014] "Every day, the RICADV and our member agencies hear from domestic violence victims and their loved ones who are in need. We know it is not easy to end an abusive relationship and that a person being victimized may stay for many reasons, including fear for their physical well-being as well as uncertainty around whether or not they can financially afford to do so. Too often we hear 'If only I had the money to leave' – money for a bus ticket or a rental deposit, money that's often needed to end a violent relationship.

"Thanks to a recent change in Rhode Island's Crime Victim Compensation Program (CVCP) administered by the Office of the General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo, financial support is now available for people trying to break the cycle of abuse by leaving dangerous living situations.

"In 2013, victim relocation costs were added to the list of approved CVCP expenses. If a person is eligible, as much as $2,500 is available to help victims get to a safe place where they can start building violence-free lives for themselves and their families. This important program extension has been implemented thanks to the dedication of General Treasurer Raimondo, Senator Donna Nesselbush of Pawtucket, Representative Anastasia Williams of Providence and other elected officials.

"We are proud of the role that the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence played in raising awareness about this much-needed funding that will help victims relocate to stay safe. Working with the Office of the General Treasurer as well as local legislators, the RICADV advocated for this change, pushing for its passage in the General Assembly last year.

"Early news about the program's effectiveness is positive. We are making people aware that there are resources available, and we are reaching victims who need this funding.

'The Crime Victim Program helped me so very much,' said one domestic violence survivor about the relocation expenses made available to them. 'I am forever thankful because my mind is now at ease. I didn't have the money to move, and getting help from [the] program reinforced the idea that leaving this violent relationship was the right decision. You know, sometimes I would second-guess myself. But now I am in a new apartment and have found a sense of peace.'

"Another domestic violence survivor and recipient of program funds shared the following about their experience: 'The program helped me when I needed it most. I called and, without delay, my application was processed. The funding helped out tremendously, taking a weight off my shoulders so that I could get back on my feet. Relocation help has been wonderful; I was lucky to quickly find a place, and the program paid my expenses promptly.'

"With this improvement of the CVCP, we are changing lives and, quite possibly, saving them, too. While these two survivors' stories are encouraging, they by no means signal the end of our work. We must continue to spread the word about and connect victims with the resources available in Rhode Island.

"The RICADV is dedicated to forming strategic partnerships across our state to end domestic violence and to developing new and creative ways to meet victims' needs. Please join us in raising awareness about all of the programs and services that exist in support of victims and their families. Together, we can help each other KNOW MORE about how to make our loved ones safer. Together, we can prevent and end domestic violence.

For more information about the RICADV, visit www.ricadv.org. To reach the Crime Victim Compensation Program at the Office of the Rhode Island General Treasurer, call 401-462-7655.

- Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

 

About the RICADV: The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. The RICADV was formed in 1979 to support and assist the six domestic violence prevention agencies in Rhode Island. The organization also provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

The RICADV's member 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. And if you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

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March 11, 2014 has been declared NO MORE Day by the Rhode Island General Assembly, symbolizing this call to action

[PROVIDENCE – March 12, 2014] Local leaders, allies, members of the community and local media joined the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV); its six members agencies (Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, Women's Center of Rhode Island, and Women's Resource Center); its task force of domestic violence survivors, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships); and Day One in sharing the message that together, Rhode Islanders can prevent and end domestic violence—a public health problem in all RI communities that everyone has the responsibility to address.

During the RICADV's second annual NO MORE Day, it was clear that a shift has occurred in the public response to and ownership of this serious issue, which affects thousands of Rhode Islanders each year. "NO MORE inaction or passivity around finding solutions to prevent domestic violence" was the message felt and heard by everyone wearing the teal symbols of the campaign. During the event, local legislators, who had received both physical and Twitter invitations to NO MORE Day, stopped by to have conversations with attendees about the importance of domestic violence prevention. The event concluded with both bodies of the Rhode Island General Assembly declaring March 11 to be NO MORE Day.

Upon entering their respective chambers, House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Elaine A. Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) introduced resolutions to the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, that would recognize March 11, 2014 as NO MORE Day. Both the House and Senate passed a resolution with this message:

"Domestic violence in Rhode Island poses a major public health crisis, not only for the significant others who fall victim to these horrific acts, but also for the children who suffer through the experience; ... the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby recognizes March 11, 2014, as "NO MORE Day," a day that will be known as the nation's call to end domestic violence and sexual assault..."

To read the full resolutions, visit the State of Rhode Island's website (House/Senate). The RICADV, its member agencies and SOAR were also recognized by both chambers for their dedication to ending domestic violence.

Representative Coderre and Senator Goodwin are champions in the movement to end domestic violence; they are powerful allies and long-time supporters of the RICADV. Both acknowledged that, in passing these resolutions, the impact of the day would serve as a national symbol for raising awareness around an issue too often overlooked as well as a call to action for everyone in Rhode Island and throughout the country to pledge NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault. The resolutions also acknowledged that, in 2011, Rhode Island police officers responded to 7,883 domestic violence-related calls, with children present in almost 2,100 of these incidents. Many more of these heinous crimes are not reported due to various barriers, such as a victim's fear or threats from an abusive partner.

"NO MORE Day laid the groundwork for a critical point in our movement—Rhode Island's advocacy community against domestic violence is standing strong and is calling for solutions to address this very public issue. Collectively, we are saying NO MORE to the silence, stigma and ways of thinking that allow domestic violence to persist behind closed doors. We are committed to preventing and ending domestic violence together in our mission to build a violence-free world for future generations. Our children have the right to inherit peaceful communities where the threat of domestic violence no longer exists—building that future is our responsibility and can be our legacy," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.

NO MORE Day was a catalyst for the coming together of statewide allies in support of domestic violence prevention: "We can prevent domestic violence, but we need resources and increased community involvement," added
DeBare.

The RICADV, its member agencies, allies and survivor task force, SOAR, will continue to propel the movement forward and further engage Rhode Islanders from across the state in the prevention of domestic violence. It will take these collective efforts to see the change and progress needed; on NO MORE Day and every day, the call to action remains the same: TOGETHER WE CAN PREVENT AND END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

To view photos from NO MORE Day 2014, view the Dropbox album here.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: NO MORE Day attendees included staff, volunteers and interns from the RICADV, its six member agencies and Day One, member agency executive directors Lori DiPersio of the Women's Resource Center and Kristin Lyons (not pictured) of the Women's Center of Rhode Island, domestic violence survivors (members of the RICADV's task force SOAR), and RICADV Board President Patricia Germani. Many are pictured here with House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Elaine A. Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) after both the House and Senate passed NO MORE Day resolutions.

Photo 2: RICADV Executive Director Deborah DeBare and House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Elaine A. Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) championed NO MORE Day to raise awareness about the need for domestic violence prevention resources.

Photo 3: Kenia Trinidad, RICADV Office Manager & Training Coordinator, helped event attendees don their teal sashes and NO MORE pins to emphasize the collective presence of the advocacy community against domestic violence that stood together at the State House for NO MORE Day.

Photo 4: Ashley Gingerella O'Shea (second from left), Associate Director of Communications for the Office of Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, standing with her colleagues, shares why she says NO MORE.

 

About the RICADV: The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. The RICADV was formed in 1979 to support and assist the six domestic violence prevention agencies in Rhode Island. The organization also provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

The RICADV's member 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. And if you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

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Nearly 66,000 Domestic Violence Victims Helped On a Single Day, But Almost 10,000 Requests for Help Go Unanswered

[Providence, RI - March 6, 2014] Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released a new research report that found, in a single 24-hour period, more than 66,000 victims of domestic violence received help and support from service organizations in the United States, yet nearly 10,000 more who needed assistance could not be helped due to a lack of adequate resources.

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a member of the NNEDV. In Rhode Island, 284 victims received services in that 24-hour period, but 223 could not be helped because local programs here in Rhode Island didn't have sufficient resources.