RICADV’s 2022 legislative victories for survivors and their families
In addition to including $250 million in the budget for new affordable housing, the R.I. state budget includes $10.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support services for domestic violence victims and their families as well as housing opportunities for survivors and their children
PASSED: Life-saving address confidentiality bill protects survivors and their children
Celebrating the RICADV’s 2021 legislative victories
PASSED: Fight for $15 and Fair Pay
PASSED: Safety & Health Care Confidentiality for Survivors
PASSED: Raising RI Social Safety Net Benefits
PASSED: Increasing Access to Safe, Healthy, Affordable Homes
PASSED: Safe Staffing for Equity and Elder Justice
Rhode Island makes history with legislation that removes barriers for survivors and children
PASSED: A bill that protects children through restraining orders, regardless of their relationship to abusers
PASSED: Continued funding for domestic violence prevention work
PASSED: Legislation securing reproductive rights for Rhode Islanders
PASSED: A resolution keeping confidential healthcare information safe from abusers
PASSED: A bill protecting household pets in domestic abuse situations
Our legislative session included significant victories for domestic violence survivors
PASSED: A bill to criminally prohibit nonconsensual pornography, also known as "revenge porn"
PASSED: A gun safety law to provide another option for firearm surrender for individuals who present an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others
PASSED: A bill to rename the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund after Deborah DeBare in honor of our long-serving former executive director
Celebrated several substantial legislative victories that will enhance safety and security for survivors and our communities
PASSED: Disarming Dangerous Abusers
PASSED: Guaranteeing Earned Sick and Safe Days
PASSED: Expanding Crime Victim Compensation for Children who Witness
PASSED: Justice Reinvestment and Dangerousness Risk Assessments
Domestic Violence Prevention Fund Created
In 2016, the RI General Assembly passed legislation to establish a Domestic Violence Prevention Fund—Rhode Island's first dedicated state funding that will support strategies for stopping the cycle of domestic violence before it starts.
The Prevention Fund was created through an additional $200,000 in the state budget, rather than the proposed increase to the state's marriage license fee.
To learn more about how the fund is being implemented, click here.Domestic Violence Prevention Fund
Report: Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island
In February 2016, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) released Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island, 2006-2015, a first-of-its-kind report for the State of Rhode Island.
The report contains key findings, homicide incident descriptions, and recommendations for preventing future domestic violence homicides in Rhode Island.
For more information and to access the full report, click here.
Court Advocacy Funding Restored
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, Senator Maryellen Goodwin, and former Representative Elaine A. Coderre for their support.
The Anti-Strangulation Bill
The Anti-Strangulation Bill was one of the RICADV's main legislative priorities in 2012 after the large number of homicides that occurred in Rhode Island in 2010.
When an abuser strangles their victim, they are showing that they have the victim's life in their hands and that they 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. Furthermore, a victim who is strangled by their 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.
Domestic Violence and Firearms
In the summer of 2005, the Homicide Prevention Act became law (R.I.G.L. §8-8.1-3 and §15-15-3), and Rhode Island became the 41st state to restrict the possession of firearms when a restraining order has been issued.
In September 2006, the RICADV had the opportunity to bring together representatives from the criminal justice field and domestic violence advocates to attend a national summit addressing the issue of firearms and domestic violence.
The group returned from the conference and established the Firearms and Domestic Violence Taskforce (FADVTF). Their goal was to develop and recommend policies, protocols and procedures that would strengthen the judicial, law enforcement and advocate response for cases of domestic abuse involving firearms.
Their first project was to create a uniform model protocol for law enforcement agencies to use when responding to domestic violence calls involving firearms, which resulted in the report Domestic Violence and Firearms: A Model Protocol.
The information presented in this report explains the research process and findings and provides recommendations to ensure that the protections provided by R.I.G.L. §8-8.1-3 and §15-15-3 will help save the lives of those victims whose abusers own firearms.
For more information about domestic violence and firearms, view our fact sheet here.
Report: Safety for Children
SOAR and the Child Custody and Visitation Advisory Committee (CCVAC) examined the strengths and gaps of the child custody and visitation process in cases involving domestic violence.
In addition to meeting with attorneys and judges, SOAR held numerous focus groups and collected 101 surveys from domestic violence survivors who had gone through, or were currently going through, the Rhode Island child custody and visitation process.
From the information gathered, the committee identified some of the key problems of the Rhode Island family court system’s child custody and visitation process:
- Children continue to suffer violence and abuse during the child custody and visitation process.
- Services to protect children are insufficient.
- Child custody and visitation cases drive victims of domestic violence into debt and poverty.
- Victims of domestic violence continue to suffer abuse and violence.
- Domestic violence is minimized.
This work resulted in the Safety for Children report, which was published in 2010 and can be read in full here.