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Legislative Summary 2013

The 2013 legislative season was very exciting for the RICADV, our six member agencies and SOAR.

Domestic Violence Prevention Fund

The RICADV introduced the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund bill (H-5854 / S-0551) to create a steady source of state funding for domestic violence prevention programs in Rhode Island.

Though the bill passed in the House, it did not pass in the Senate. We are hopeful that the Rhode Island General Assembly will pass the bill into law during the 2014 legislative session.

Court Advocacy Program Funding Restored

Though the RICADV did advocate strongly for the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund bill in 2013, our main focus was on addressing the funding cuts to the Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program.

After years of budget cuts to state services, the program, which serves over 8,000 victims annually, had endured a 70% decrease in funding by 2013 and was forced to close its offices on Mondays. This closure was the first time in the program's 25-year history that advocates were not available when court was in session. The RICADV led our member agencies, SOAR, allied organizations and community supporters in the effort to convince our legislators to restore funding.

It was an amazing victory when the Rhode Island legislature agreed to restore $100,000 to the program, a much-needed lifeline for domestic violence victims. Special thanks are due to Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Representative Elaine A. Coderre and Senator Maryellen Goodwin for their support.

Media Advocacy

Through our media advocacy for the Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program, we were able to help restore funding to vital services that save lives.

Our press event outside of the Garrahy Courthouse was well-attended by supporters, public officials, and survivors. Rhode Island's major news stations featured the issue, as did The Providence Journal with a top-fold cover story.

The RICADV created this graphic featuring a SOAR member standing in front of the Garrahy Courthouse to mobilize our supporters through a simple yet powerful message - don't let domestic violence victims stand alone.

Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program

 

Anti-Strangulation Bill (2012)

Executive Summary

The RICADV made the Anti-Strangulation Bill one of its main priorities in 2012 after the large number of homicides in 2010. Since 2010, Rhode Island has lost 22 lives to domestic violence. We believe that the only way to prevent domestic violence homicides is to prevent relationships from escalating to this level of violence by working on the known risk factors.

When an abuser strangles their victim, they are showing that they have that victim's life in their hands and have the power to end it. Injuries caused by strangulation assaults are themselves very dangerous, such as neurological damage sustained from lack of oxygen to the brain, and furthermore, a victim who is strangled by her or his abuser is 9.9 times more likely to be killed than one who is not. Strangulation assaults are one of the top five lethality indicators for domestic violence homicides. Yet despite their lethal nature, strangulation assaults are generally charged as misdemeanor simple assaults (§11-5-3) under current Rhode Island law.

By elevating these dangerous, damaging crimes to a felony level, police officers, prosecutors and advocates will be able to better protect the lives of domestic violence victims and children and help stop domestic violence homicides. This important bill provides police officers and prosecutors with a much-needed tool to hold the most dangerous batterers accountable and protect the lives of Rhode Islanders.

pdfStrangulation Fact Sheet

Domestic Violence and Firearms (2011)

Domestic Violence and Firearms: A Model Protocol

FirearmsExecutive Summary

The purpose of this project was to develop a model policy for Rhode Island’s law enforcement agencies to use when responding to domestic violence calls involving firearms. This document is intended to provide insight to police officers, the judicial system and advocates about the shared and differing practices that law enforcement officers use in these types of cases. In addition, this report will provide recommendations for the purpose of improving the response to domestic abuse calls involving weapons.

Safety for Children (2010)

CCVS icon smallSAFETY FOR CHILDREN

A report on the impact of Rhode Island's custody system on victims of domestic violence and their children.

Even when victims of domestic violence attempt to live free from violence and protect their children, they too often continue to suffer injustice and abuse throughout the custody and visitation process. As a result of having this issue surface as a priority concern for its members, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), with the support of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, established the Child Custody and Visitation Advisory Committee (CCVAC) in 2007.