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  • Welcome

    We are excited to present our new responsive website to Rhode Island. Here you will find information on various topics related to domestic violence and the work we are doing to end it. The site is designed to provide resources to individuals experiencing abuse so that they can get the help they need. It is also a valuable tool for people who want to help and for those who want to get involved. Check back often for updates, and share your feedback with us so that we can better serve you.

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  • Member Agencies

    The RICADV's six 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 below. If you see or hear someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

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  • Latino Outreach

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

    At the RICADV, we proactively serve the Latino community, collaborating with Rhode Island businesses to further our reach to those experiencing abuse. During our public awareness campaigns, we have partnered with Telemundo, Providence en Español, and Latina 100.3 FM to help Latino communities know that help 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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  • Communities Can Help

    Last October, we launched our KNOW MORE. DO MORE. campaign in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Our goal was to help different sectors of the community – including health care, the workplace, faith, and Latino communities – take action to end domestic violence. When communities take a stand as leaders on this issue, individuals are more likely to have the support they need to act. That's when we'll see real change in Rhode Island. That's how we'll put a stop to domestic violence. Learn more about our 2014 campaign by clicking below.

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  • We Give Support.

    As coworkers, employers, businesses and organizations, we have the ability to help those experiencing domestic violence. The workplace often serves as a location where abusers can readily access their victims, and relationship abuse can greatly impact victims' job performance in other ways, too; for instance, victims lose an estimated 8 million days of paid work each year due to domestic violence, the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs. These problems only serve to exacerbate the financial abuse that occurs in 98% of abusive relationships. An easy way to begin creating a safe workplace environment is to display materials on domestic violence in visible, accessible areas. Click below to view DVAM 2014 posters that you can hang in your office.

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  • We Listen.

    Health care providers are often the first to learn about the domestic violence that their patients may be experiencing and are in a unique position to help prevent future abuse. Listening to patients is a critical first step. During DVAM 2014, the RICADV connected with members of Rhode Island's health care community to help them know more about the steps they can take to address domestic violence. We partnered with the Rhode Island Medical Society, which published an article written by RICADV staff in the October issue of Rhode Island Medical Journal. View the article by clicking below.

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The Newsroom

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Latest News

Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Homicide in Middletown

By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

[Providence, RI – August 25, 2015] “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Rachael S. Kilroy, who was murdered earlier today. This tragedy is the second domestic violence homicide to occur this week, a harrowing reminder that domestic violence is a widespread epidemic, one that knows no boundaries and affects all communities.

. . .

Read More: Latest News

Legitimate Rapes: A 2012 Bluster and Opportunity in 2013 to Discuss Sexual Assaults 

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by Jessica McCauley
Child Counselor, Sojourner House

"Legitimate rape."  

It was late summer, 2012, and Todd Akin, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Missouri running for a 2012 U.S. Senate seat, was being interviewed on St. Louis television. He had just answered a question about his views on women who became pregnant due to rape and whether they should have the option of abortion. He also gave us one of the year's most ridiculous catch-phrases and menacingly misguided statements on the topics of women's health and violence against women uttered during the 2012 election:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Outrage ensued. One reason is because Akin's remarks came after decades of research, advocacy, systems change, and public engagement, especially work that revealed the prevalence of acquaintance rape (also called date rape). Whereas a common misconception about "legitimate" rapists is that they are strangers that jump out of bushes or dark alleys, the reality is that most often sexual assaults are committed by is a friend, family member or date.

But Representative Akin's statement also brought up the question: What kind of rape isn't legitimate in the eyes of Akin and others who share his views?

"What kind of rape isn't legitimate?"

For women's equality advocates and those trying to end violence against women, it was not a surprise to hear that someone had views like those expressed by Akin (though it was maybe surprising that he would make them in as compounded a public arena as a television interview in an election year). Here are some other aspects of sexual assault that are opposed, misconceived, disbelieved, unacknowledged or misconstrued:

  • Statutory rape, where both parties may have consented, but one is under age on the books. This is considered rape because the younger person was not old enough to make an informed or an emotionally mature decision, and therefore gave consent under the pressure or manipulation of an older individual.
  • Rape where force was not used to fight against the perpetuator? Unfortunately, it is not widely known that there are actually three responses the body automatically produces to threat of harm: fight, flight and freeze. While most people have heard that the reptilian part of our brain involuntarily reacts by fighting or running, a third response is just as common: freezing. This may be seen when an animal in the wild becomes immobile in the hope that a predator will pass them by unseen. Our brains elicit this response as well. This experience has been likened to being paralyzed. A person in freeze mode may very well want to fight off the aggressor, but they are literally unable to move. This feeling adds to the trauma of the incident, especially if the survivor feels somehow at fault for not struggling.

Yes, No, and a Better Understanding of Consent

Another topic that is commonly misunderstood is the issue of permission and "consent."  Human rights law and standards in the International Criminal Court includes the following statement:  "Consent need not be expressed, and may be implied from the context and from the relationship of the parties, but the absence of objection does not of itself constitute consent. In other words, a lack of a no is not a yes!  For example, a person who seems uncomfortable, unsure or hesitant about a sexual act is not consenting, even if they have not specifically used the word no. An individual who cares about the feelings, wishes and desires of their partner will notice that they are not willing. While people should be encouraged to speak up, it is also imperative to recognize the past life experiences that may make this difficult for some to do so.

Another misconception about consent is that it need only be given once. This comes into play with marital, or spousal, rape (a form of domestic violence); while now outlawed in every state, the last state to enact this law did so in 1993! (The first was in 1975.) There are still some countries where it is not an official crime, because historically consent was assumed in the marriage contract (National Center for victims of Crime.) However, no matter how many times two people have had sex in the past, a partner must give consent each and every time.

Legitimately Affected

Imagine this: an annual holiday where he has to face his abuser; a date with a fellow student that goes too far; an uncle who spends more and more time with his niece; a husband who forces his wife to engage in sex as part of a cycle of violence he imposes.  This is the reality for many:

  • 1 in 6 women are survivors of sexual assault.
  • 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

Conflicting feelings may arise within a person who is taken advantage of by someone they cared for and/or trusted.  Complicated or not, all victims of sexual assault face "legitimate" challenges and barriers to overcome, and perpetrators and rapists are the ones that need to be shut down.  


So as we look back at 2012, and at the words of Congressman Akin, we recognize both a low point in terms of how misinformed and out-of-touch some really are about sexual assaults and women's health, and a high point in terms of the number of people across the country who responded in outrage to his remarks. Nationally and here in RI the community is saying NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault. And like those who voted for Akin's opponent, we are also saying NO MORE to leaders who are misinformed, disconnected, or working without our best interest in mind. For more information, visit or call 401-467-9940.

Communications Center

  • Communicating our work to end DV is vital +

    Communicating the work to end domestic violence is vital. Visit our Communications Center and The Newsroom to KNOW MORE. Read More
  • Public Awareness +

    Raising awareness to end domestic violence is part of our mission. Learn how we keep the issue visible in our communities. Read More
  • Handbook for Journalists +

    The media can help break the silence and educate the public. Visit our online guide for journalists covering domestic violence.
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Site Search

Teen Center

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KNOW MORE: Relationship abuse happens among teens, too. Visit our Teen Center during the launch of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in February 2015 for interactive tools!


  • Be Tech Safe
  • News & Events
  • 35 Years of Progress
  • AmazonSmile

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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
or just want to KNOW MORE?

Visit our Calendar of Events to find a myriad of local and
social media 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 six domestic violence prevention 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 six 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