Uplifting domestic violence awareness through communications
- Sharing the latest news in DV prevention and awareness.
- We respond to domestic violence homicides, and high-profile cases in the news, in order to raise up the voices and experiences of survivors, honor the lives lost, and ensure media coverage is accurate, sensitive, and well-informed.
Public Awareness Campaigns
We conduct public awareness campaigns throughout the year to keep the issue of domestic violence visible in our state and to engage Rhode Islanders in saying “No More!” Together, we can end domestic violence.
At the RICADV, we work with the media to raise awareness about domestic violence, the services and resources available, and the ways our communities can get involved to help prevent and end abuse.
Statement Regarding the Attempted Domestic Violence Murder of Woonsocket Woman
By Toni Marie Gomes, executive director, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, and Lucy Rios, executive director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
WOONSOCKET, R.I., July 31, 2023 – Early this morning, a 34-year-old woman was shot in her home by her 52-year-old husband, Walter Lopez. Her two children, ages three and twenty, were in the home at the time of the shooting. Our deep concern goes out to her and her family in the wake of this horrendous act of violence. We extend to her and her loved ones our care for her well-being and hope for her recovery.
Lopez turned the gun on himself after shooting his wife and has been pronounced dead. When gun violence occurs, it impacts the entire community. Our hearts go out to the community members of Woonsocket as they are processing this preventable, traumatic event.
We ask our community to remember the children who are impacted by this violence. Children who witness domestic violence need support and trauma-informed care from the systems that respond, including law enforcement and family services which can support children’s resilience and well-being. Research shows that supportive, nurturing family relationships can promote positive outcomes for children exposed to domestic abuse.1 Making sure children remain in the care of the non-abusive parent or the non-offending parent’s family members as systems respond to domestic violence can mitigate the impacts of trauma.
Domestic violence is an ongoing source of pain and trauma for our families, neighbors, and children. Economic and social safety nets can help decrease the risk for domestic violence in our communities. Data shows that domestic violence occurs in every city and town in Rhode Island. As noted in our report, Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island 2016-2020, domestic violence homicide incidents occurred in 11 different cities and towns, with Woonsocket having the highest rate at 9.25 per 100,000 population. Our policymakers and community leaders can improve policies that increase economic stability which will promote safe, connected communities where healthy relationships flourish. We must also invest in local resources that support people to thrive, such as affordable housing, job opportunities, safe schools, and access to basic needs such as food and healthcare.
The presence of a firearm plays a significant role in escalating domestic violence to a lethal level. Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed if the abusive partner has access to a firearm. Rhode Island can prevent devastating gun violence by strengthening protective gun laws and enforcing the protections we already have in place.
Domestic abuse has harmful long-lasting ripple effects on our families, communities, and children’s futures. With an increased investment and focus on trauma-informed responses and prevention strategies, we can build a Rhode Island where our communities are cared for, and all people are safe.
For more information on prevention and how to help children who witness domestic violence, visit our website at www.ricadv.org. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call the statewide confidential 24/7 RI Victims of Crime Helpline at 1-800-494-8100. The Helpline is also available via online chat at www.ricadv.org.
About BVAC: The Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center (BVAC) has been providing services to victims of domestic violence in the Blackstone Valley area for over three decades, and now offers services in Providence County and northern Rhode Island. It is their voices, their struggles, and their experiences, which guide our work. BVAC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence and to provide education and awareness on the issue of domestic violence. Visit www.bvacri.org for more information.
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 domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island and to provide statewide leadership on the issue. The organization strives to create justice for victims and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV’s network of ten member agencies provides a wide array of services for victims, including 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 for more information about the RICADV, call us at 401-467-9940 or visit us online at www.ricadv.org.
1 Development Services Group, Inc., and Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2015). Promoting protective factors for children exposed to domestic violence: A guide for practitioners. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/guide_domesticviolence.pdf
Domestic Violence Online Guide for Journalists
We work with the Rhode Island media to ensure that press coverage on domestic violence increases awareness about the issue, provides information about available resources, and engages the community to help end abuse. Visit the RICADV’s Online Guide for Journalists for best practices on covering domestic violence.
If you are a member of the media on a deadline and reach out before or after 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. – Fri. or on a weekend, please contact the state Helpline: 1-800-494-8100
Sign up for e-newsletters
Sign up to receive emails about ways you can support the RICADV!