[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.