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  • Get Off the Bench!

    Get Off the Bench!

    October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our statewide public awareness campaign "Get Off the Bench!" features URI student athletes saying NO MORE to dating and domestic violence. This October, be on the lookout for the campaign on RIPTA buses, PANDORA, and at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Domestic violence impacts all of us, and will take all of us, together, to end it. How will you “get off the bench”? How will you play your part?
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  • Ten Men Summit

    Ten Men Summit

    Rhode Island men, you're invited to the 3rd annual Ten Men Summit on Thursday, October 27, hosted by Providence College! This event is designed for men and led by men who want to play an active role in preventing domestic violence in our communities. All individuals who identify as male are welcome. Come be a part of the conversation about how men can help prevent violence against women and girls. The event is free to attend! Doors open at 5:00 p.m. A complimentary dinner will be provided, thanks to our generous host and sponsor Providence College. To register, visit
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  • Behind Closed Doors

    Behind Closed Doors

    **TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT** To inquire about the waiting list, please contact Shannon Cordeiro at** Do not miss the final performance of Behind Closed Doors at Trinity Repertory Company this October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Behind Closed Doors is an original play written and performed by 15 survivors of domestic violence from SOAR, Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships, a task force of the RICADV. The performance is a true account of their experiences with domestic violence, hope, and survival, seeking to draw you into their lives to dispel the stigmas of this often misunderstood abuse.
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  • New Resource for RI

    New Resource for RI

    Now more than ever, people are becoming aware of and outraged by the harmful impacts of domestic violence. With primary prevention, we can stop the violence before it happens in the first place, before people ever become victims or perpetrators of abuse. To learn more, check out this new resource created by the RICADV!
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  • "The Way Home" Charm

    Alex and Ani has partnered with the RICADV and the National Network To End Domestic Violence to launch the CHARITY BY DESIGN charm bangle “The Way Home.” When you purchase your bracelets through the RICADV, 50% of the proceeds go toward supporting our work to end domestic violence in RI. You can purchase bracelets in person at the RICADV’s office in Warwick Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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  • Latino Outreach

    Latino Outreach

    Oprima el botón “Read More” para acceder a nuestro sitio web en Español.

    At the RICADV, we proactively serve Latino communities and work to raise awareness about the help that is available through our member agencies. Each agency offers diverse programs and services that can include safety planning, court advocacy, shelter, and support groups. Immigration help is also available. Access our website in Spanish by clicking the "Read More" button below or En Español at the top of this page.

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The Newsroom

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Latest News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 17, 2016

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence issues Request for Proposals for programs that aim to prevent domestic violence before it starts

Through the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, $180,000 will be distributed to support local programs that aim to prevent domestic and dating violence

[Tuesday, October 17, 2016 – Warwick, RI] Rhode Island is taking a big step towards preventing domestic violence, as the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) begins accepting proposals for short and long-term programs aimed at stopping intimate partner violence before it starts. 

Thanks to the newly established Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, which was signed into law earlier this year by Governor Gina M. Raimondo, the RICADV will be distributing $180,000 to support evidence-informed domestic violence primary prevention programs in Rhode Island. 

“We are broadening the focus of our work to include domestic violence primary prevention, and investing in long-term strategies to change the social norms that condone domestic violence,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director at the RICADV. “Supporting both short and long-term initiatives will enable us to reach diverse communities and populations throughout Rhode Island.” 

. . .

Read More: Latest News

Inherent and Civil Parental Law vs. Civil Custody Law

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By Renee’ F. Brissette

The natural, Divine, and even governmental laws of parenting have been thrown into a dangerous quandary by the perplexing family court rulings throughout this country that are forcing many to ask, who knows what is in the best interest of our children? As a parent, I strive to love, care for, protect, and teach my children well with the hope that they will become the best person they can be—leading happy, healthy, and productive lives.  I think it is safe to say that this is what most parents try to do for their children. These desires and tendencies may stem from an inner maternal/paternal instinct coupled with a moral and spiritual compass. 

So, when children are young, to protect them from harm, we teach them how to tie their shoes, to not touch hot stoves, to not talk to strangers, and look before they cross the street. As they get older we teach them lessons of right and wrong, kindness and cooperation, to not hang with the “wrong” crowds, to “say no to drugs,” and to never stay anywhere or go with anyone who they are not safe with. It is not only natural and/or Divine law that leads parents to protect, care, and provide for their children — it is the law of this country.

Yet, parents across the states are being faced with a legal and moral conundrum.  While the government laws require parents to care for and protect their children on the one hand, family court systems, in case after case, are ordering them to place their children in harms way. The latest case making news headlines just this past week involves a mother in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina who had to choose to do what she knows is in the best interest of her children, or complying with a court order. 

This mother of two children, a 7 and 4 year old, in Charlotte, NC, faced possible imprisonment last week for refusing to send her children to court-ordered custody visits with their father. Their father, David Edward Kennedy, is a proven drug abuser and federally indicted drug trafficker who has submitted a signed  confession to the charges. In November, upon his indictment, the mother petitioned the court for emergency custody indicating that, considering Kennedy’s drug use and trafficking, she was worried about her children’s safety.

The Court denied her petition. WCNC 36 News in North Carolina quotes the judge’s reason, “Even if he was indicted with 20 kilos of cocaine…there has to be some danger to the child.  If the child was in the car with him while he was making a drug deal or subjecting a child to maybe guns, then I could see the emergency.”  Believing that her children’s safety and wellbeing are more important than her freedom, this mother refused to comply with the Court’s order to leave her children in a situation she believed was dangerous. 

Last Thursday the mother appeared for a Contempt of Court hearing facing the threat of imprisonment; however, the judge in the case held making a ruling and, although not stopping visitation completely, made provisions for supervised visitation for the time being.  The irony in this case, as in many cases, is that state agencies remove children regularly from the custody of parents such as Kennedy for being unfit and putting their child in potential danger, while the family court systems are forcing parents to put their children in situations and with people that are unsafe. 

Cases like this one in North Carolina are more common than thought to be, and are not limited to cases involving drugs, but also issues of physical and sexual abuse of children, domestic violence, etc. Speculation of reasons as to how this happens is vast, whether it be a judges “personal bias” as suggested by the mother’s attorney in this case, lack of sufficient evidence, or limitations set forth by existing laws and court procedures.

Realizing that there is no single, simple reason for this, nor a single, simple solution, a Rhode Island group determined the cause to be systemic. In 2007, the group, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), a taskforce of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is an organization of survivors of Domestic Violence, began to take a closer look at the RI family court system specifically focusing on custody and visitation cases involving domestic violence through the Child Custody and Visitation Solutions Project.  

Through a collaboration of lawyers, advocates, Roger Williams University, court representatives, judges, and survivors of domestic violence, the project culminated in 2010 with the publishing of Safety for Children; A report on the impact of Rhode Island’s custody system on victims of domestic violence and their children. (The full report with all of its findings can be viewed at

The report not only looked at the physical, emotional, and financial impact the family court system has on victims and children of domestic violence, but sets forth constructive, viable solutions to minimize its harmful impact and keep children safe. 

            The Child Custody and Visitation Solutions Project found that  “children continue to suffer violence and abuse during the child custody and visitation process.”  It found that:

  • “Violence continued to be a part of children’s lives, even as their victimized parent sought safety, in an overwhelming majority of the cases reviewed, 89% of the survey respondents stated that their children witnessed domestic violence before and/or during the custody and visitation process.

  • According to survey respondents, 71% of their children were also abused by the abusive parent, and many of these children suffered from more than one type of abuse.

  • Moreover, 53% of the survey respondents reported that the child abuse occurred during visitation.

  • Despite this, 58% of the participants’ cases where abuse was present were decided in favor of joint custody.

  • According to these survey results, the majority of children suffered some negative emotional and/or psychological consequences from the process. At least two parents in the survey commented on suicidal behavior by their children: "My five-year-old said she didn’t want to live, life was ‘too difficult’.”

Cases like this one in North Carolina again brings attention to the wide-spread, systematic problems that exist relating to child custody and visitation in America. Through court decisions like that in Kennedy’s case, and the hundreds involved in the Safety for Children report, parents are forced to make heart-wrenching decisions — be a law-abiding citizen by turning their children over to a dangerous individual and/or situation, or refuse and face imprisonment. In efforts to keep their children safe, parents have been forced to take serious actions including leaving their homes, jobs, friends, and families and to go into hiding with their children or stay and face jail and the possibility of their children being taken away from them by the court; neither choice a positive option. 

Many states are working at solutions to prevent such situation, and some are making great strides.  A key is to keep dialogue open and awareness high while working together for viable solutions such as the revision of custody and visitation laws, policies, and procedures within the systems.  This case is a reminder of the work still left to be done. We can fly rockets to the moon — a once thought to be impossible feat. Surely, together, we can formulate and implement successful solutions in their best interest to keep our children safe.

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Communications Center

  • Handbook for Journalists +

    We work with the Rhode Island media to increase awareness about domestic violence, the services and resources available, and the ways the community can get involved. The press can help break the silence and educate the public. Visit the RICADV's "Online Guide for Journalists" for best practices on covering domestic violence.
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  • Public Awareness Campaigns +

    Public awareness campaigns are one way we can keep the issue of domestic violence visible, provide information about community resources, and engage all Rhode Islanders as active bystanders.
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Teen Center

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Relationship abuse impacts young people, too. Visit our Teen Center to find resources and information for young people in RI.


  • Be Tech Safe
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  • 35 Years of Progress
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Your abuser may monitor your Internet use and may be able to view your computer activity.

To immediately leave our site and redirect to a different site, click on the box to the bottom-right of our website or hit the ESC (Escape) key on the upper-left of your keyboard.

If you feel that your computer is not secure, use a computer in another location that your abuser cannot access.

For more information and tips for staying safe online and on your devices, click "Read More" to visit the Privacy & Technology section of our website.

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Looking to get involved in the movement to end domestic violence?

Visit our Calendar of Events to find local and
online events.

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spotlight image lisaleslie35th Anniversary Celebration

In 2014, the RICADV celebrated 35 years of progress in advocating for victims and holding abusers accountable.

On October 9, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we commemorated this milestone with special guest Lisa Leslie, WNBA legend, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and supporter of the national NO MORE campaign against domestic violence.

We thank everyone who has played a part in helping us move our work forward. Together we can end domestic violence.

Visit our 35th anniversary page to watch a special video, view photos of the event (coming soon!), and more.

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AmazonSmile-webWhat is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the RICADV every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the RICADV.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Choose the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence to support us. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation.

About the RICADV

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. We were formed in 1979 to support and assist the domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. We provide leadership to our member agencies, strive to create justice for victims, and raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

Member Agencies

The RICADV's five local domestic violence 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 or click here. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.


Contact Details

422 Post Road, Suite 102
Warwick, RI 02888-1539

T (401) 467-9940

F (401) 467-9943