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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund will Support Five Innovative New Projects that Seek to Prevent Dating and Domestic Violence in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, YWCA Rhode Island, Progreso Latino, Sojourner House, Youth In Action, and Princes 2 Kings are implementing groundbreaking primary prevention programs this year thanks to Rhode Island’s first dedicated funding

[Providence, RI – March 9, 2017] In 2016, recognizing that the prevention of dating and domestic violence is vital to the health of all Rhode Islanders, the Rhode Island General Assembly established the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (DVPF). The DVPF will be administered by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) and will support evidence-informed primary prevention programs that aim to stop intimate partner violence before it starts. A total of $180,000 in grant funding will be distributed annually.

“For more than ten years, Rhode Island has been at the forefront of primary prevention programs that aim to prevent intimate partner violence,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director at the RICADV. “We are excited that this funding will increase the number of schools, community groups, and community-based agencies that are engaged in this work, enabling us to reach diverse communities and populations throughout Rhode Island.”

. . .

Read the full news release below.

 

Media Contact:
Kate Porter
Communications Manager
P: 401.467.9940
kate@ricadv.org

If you are a member of the media on deadline and are reaching out after hours or on a weekend, please contact the state Helpline:
1.800.494.8100

Releases & Statements – 2017
  • Releases

  • Statements

  • 3/9/2017 - The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund will Support Five Innovative New Projects that Seek to Prevent Dating and Domestic Violence in Rhode Island

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, YWCA Rhode Island, Progreso Latino, Sojourner House, Youth In Action, and Princes 2 Kings are implementing groundbreaking primary prevention programs this year thanks to Rhode Island’s first dedicated funding

    [Providence, RI – March 9, 2017] In 2016, recognizing that the prevention of dating and domestic violence is vital to the health of all Rhode Islanders, the Rhode Island General Assembly established the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (DVPF). The DVPF will be administered by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) and will support evidence-informed primary prevention programs that aim to stop intimate partner violence before it starts. A total of $180,000 in grant funding will be distributed annually.

    “For more than ten years, Rhode Island has been at the forefront of primary prevention programs that aim to prevent intimate partner violence,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director at the RICADV. “We are excited that this funding will increase the number of schools, community groups, and community-based agencies that are engaged in this work, enabling us to reach diverse communities and populations throughout Rhode Island.”


    In January 2017, three Implementation Project awards were granted to local organizations. When making decisions about which projects would be funded, priority was given to proposals that focused on altering norms, policies, and community conditions that impact girls and boys of color and LGBTQ and Two-Spirit youth, and that support the implementation of the Lindsay Ann Burke Act in schools.  

    YWCA Rhode Island received a $55,000 implementation grant to train educators, youth workers, service providers, and community members on the historical and current ways that institutional and structural racism impact girls of color and to provide a proven practice for building resiliency in girls.

    “Our project recognizes that girls of color are often overlooked when community members, service providers, and educators address issues of gender and racial inequality, and its relationship to intimate partner violence,” said Deborah Perry, President/CEO of YWCA Rhode Island. "It is a clarion call to all of our better selves to highlight the unique struggles of girls of color and ask what we as individuals and as part of larger organizations can do to improve our society by raising awareness and focusing on altering norms, polices, and community conditions that impact girls of color.” 

    Progreso Latino received a $55,000 implementation grant to execute Teen & Adult Prevention Program (TAPP), which will use a holistic public health approach to build the community’s capacity to address intimate partner violence in the Blackstone Valley area. TAPP will create adult and youth social action groups that will assess community challenges and then mobilize the community to identify and lead social change efforts and policy reforms. Progreso Latino has partnered with Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, the local domestic violence agency in that area, to provide domestic violence prevention education to social action groups and local schools.

    “We understand that violence is a symptom of many factors and that we need to work together in order to make a difference,” said Mario Bueno, Executive Director of Progreso Latino. “We are eager to work with the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center along with other organizations in order to seek out grassroots solutions to intimate partner violence.”

    Sojourner House received a $55,000 implementation grant to launch the Interpersonal Violence Youth Peer Advocacy Network Program in Providence and Woonsocket communities. With support from three community-based youth serving organizations, Youth Pride Inc., Youth In Action, and Youth Works 411, as well as the Providence Student Union, Sojourner House will train youth activists and establish a peer advocacy program that will support schools with the implementation of the Lindsay Ann Burke Act.

    "Sojourner House currently operates a variety of direct and emergency services programs to help victims of abuse reclaim their lives,” said Vanessa Volz, Executive Director of Sojourner House. “We're thrilled to receive funding to help address the root causes of interpersonal violence and therefore be part of the solution to prevent violent relationships before they happen. We know this work is a community effort, which is why we've partnered with local youth organizations and schools in Providence and Woonsocket to implement our project."


    In addition to the three Implementation Project grants, the RICADV awarded two one-time community micro-grants. Priority was given to short-term projects that foster and increase community cohesion through public awareness, education, and the arts; and that help community members make a personal connection to the issue of intimate partner violence by encouraging bystanders to take action.

    Youth In Action received a $9,755 micro-grant to support the development and implementation of a series of youth-designed community events, including a youth-led led film and discussion series and social media campaign. Youth In Action will train staff to recognize, respond to, and make referrals for families experiencing intimate partner violence.

    Princes 2 Kings received a $5,000 micro-grant to develop an engaging and educational stop motion animation film addressing teen dating violence. The script will be developed by the program participants, who will also perform, record, and edit the film.


    More information about domestic violence primary prevention, the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, and these projects can be found on RICADV’s website: www.ricadv.org/dvpf.

     

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  • 2/22/17 - Rhode Island is first in the country to have statewide Law Enforcement Advocates

    Day One, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and their member agencies have ensured that every police department statewide will have a Law Enforcement Advocate available to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault

    [Providence, RI – February 22, 2017] The Law Enforcement Advocate (LEA) program, which has been successful at various police departments throughout Rhode Island, has expanded to serve the entire state. After gaps in the system were identified in 2016, domestic violence and sexual assault service agencies throughout Rhode Island applied for VOCA, VAWA, and other grants in order to be able to fully fund this program, which is coordinated by Day One and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) in partnership with law enforcement. The very first Law Enforcement Advocates in Rhode Island started in 1996 and the program has continued to grow.

    “The Providence Police Department and our Law Enforcement Advocates have worked together to build a strong partnership over the years,” said Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. “The relationship between our officers and LEAs has proven invaluable when working with the innocent victims of domestic and sexual crimes, and I am pleased to know that every department in the state will now benefit from this same partnership.”   

    The Law Enforcement Advocates are physically based within the police departments and fill a gap for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. When a police department identifies a case of domestic violence or sexual assault, the LEA is notified and reaches out to the victim to offer support and guidance. The LEA does not take the place of an attorney, but the advocate can help provide vital guidance and support to a victim during a time of extreme stress and confusion.

    “Advocates throughout the state saw a serious need for advocacy in every Rhode Island community,” said Peg Langhammer, Executive Director of Day One. “Now, thanks to the expansion of this program, victims across Rhode Island will be supported every step of the way. In the last three years alone, Rhode Island LEAs have been able to support over 10,000 victims.”

    Through the LEA, victims have access to services that are specific to their needs – such as emotional support, referrals for services, advocacy, and case assistance. Without safety planning, crisis intervention, and support services, victims of domestic and sexual violence will often return to their abuser. When victims feel supported and empowered to continue through the criminal justice process, more prosecutions proceed, and more offenders are held accountable for their actions, while victims and their families receive better outcomes. 

    “We focus on empowering victims,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Facing an abuser in court can be re-traumatizing for victims of violence; they need to know that they are believed and supported in their decisions throughout the process. LEAs play that crucial role for victims and keep us all safer.”

    The overall goals of the Law Enforcement Advocate program include working to reduce trauma to victims, helping victims access and understand the criminal justice system, ensuring that victims receive appropriate support services, and acting as a resource for both victims and police officers in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault.

    “I would not be here today if it weren’t for the consistent support of my advocates,” said Linda, a survivor of domestic violence. “My advocate helped me arrange a safety plan, gave me a safe phone, helped me file a restraining order, and supported me through that difficult and stressful process. I wouldn’t have a life without the advocates who helped me. They saved my life.”

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  • 1/18/17 - Statement Regarding the Arraignment of Elaine Yates


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 18, 2017

     

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

     

    [Providence, RI – January 18, 2017] In 1985, when Elaine Yates and her two daughters disappeared from their Warwick home, no laws against domestic violence existed in Rhode Island. It was not until 1988 that legislation went into effect making domestic violence a crime.

    Prior to 1988, the landscape was much different for someone who was being battered in Rhode Island. Back then, it was not illegal for husbands to abuse their wives, and victims of abuse had no legal recourse. If a woman was being abused, she could not turn to law enforcement or the criminal justice system for help. There were very few options for safety, while crisis services and legal protections were practically nonexistent. It was not uncommon for victims of domestic violence to leave their homes with their children in order to stay safe, often going out of state and even changing their identities to protect themselves and their loved ones. At that time, advocates would often help battered women and their children flee to “underground” shelters, made up of a grassroots network of people’s homes and confidential community spaces. The stark reality was that the potential legal ramifications for victims who fled with their children were far outweighed by the risks and danger they might face if they stayed.

    It is important to recognize that domestic violence does not only affect the primary victim. Abusers often use bystanders, especially loved ones, in order to exert power and control over victims, and the perpetrator may abuse or threaten the victim’s children as a way to control the victim. In addition, children who live in a home where abuse is taking place are often traumatized. Such adverse experiences can cause health and social problems throughout their lifetime, including chronic diseases, substance abuse, dropping out of school, and even early death.1

    Leaving a domestic violence situation is incredibly difficult, as there are many barriers and obstacles. It is also one of the most dangerous times for a victim – while or after they end the abusive relationship. The abuser is losing power and control and will often react in destructive ways, so if a person takes action to leave the home or situation, it is likely that the dangers they face by staying are significant, and the lengths they must go to achieve safety and rebuild their lives would be great.

    Today, the safety net for survivors of domestic violence and their children here in Rhode Island is stronger. Domestic violence is now defined as a crime by law. The criminal justice response is much improved, law enforcement professionals receive training, and the RICADV’s member agencies provide comprehensive services and support for victims and their children. Even still, many victims choose not to contact the police for help,2 and while more safety options exist for those being abused, there are still gaps in the system, particularly around child custody and visitation.

    In 1985, victims faced a significantly bleaker reality. While we cannot comment on the specifics of this case, when there is a history of domestic violence, the choices victims make to keep themselves and their children safe, and the context in which they make these choices, must be not only considered but deeply understood, if we are to build a world where we believe and empower victims, and no longer tolerate domestic violence.


    1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy 

    2National Domestic Violence Hotline, Who Will Help Me? Domestic Violence Survivors Speak Out About Law Enforcement Responses. Washington, DC (2015). http://www.thehotline.org/resources/law-enforcement-responses

     

    How You Can Help:

    If you are experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, call the Rhode Island statewide Helpline for 24-hour support at 800-494-8100.

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, we can help keep victims safe and prevent a tragedy. Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. If you know or suspect that someone in your life is a victim of domestic violence, you can help that person stay safe. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help the person create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the Helpline (800-494-8100) and the RICADV’s member agencies. Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.


    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. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

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Releases & Statements – 2016
  • Releases

  • Statements

  • 10/17/16 - The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence issues Request for Proposals for programs that aim to prevent domestic violence before it starts


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 17, 2016


    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 (DVPF), 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.” 

    In total, $180,000 in grant funding will be distributed. The funding is intended to support two to three Implementation Project awards ranging from $50,000 to $60,000 per year, as well as a number of one-time Community Micro-grants ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. Implementation Project awards will begin January 1, 2017, with the option of renewing for two additional 12-month periods pending availability of funds and each awardee’s performance. Community Micro-grants will support short-term projects that will be completed within 12 months of being awarded.

    “Prevention strategies have worked for other public health issues,” said Lucy Rios, Director of Prevention and Communications at the RICADV. “Take a look at smoking – 40 years ago it was the cultural norm to smoke, even around kids. After implementing prevention strategies such as increasing the cost of tobacco products, passing smoke-free laws, and promoting strong anti-smoking messages, the rate of smoking has dropped from 42% to around 15%. We can use similar strategies to prevent domestic violence.”

    Strategies to prevent domestic violence can vary widely in their approach, but priority will be given to proposals that focus on changing systems, policies, social and cultural norms, and community conditions that allow domestic and dating violence to occur. Because they are disproportionally impacted, priority will be given to proposals that focus on girls and boys of color and LGBTQ and Two-Spirit youth. 

    “We know that connected communities experience less domestic violence,” said Rios. “So one example of a primary prevention program could be a series of movie nights that create an opportunity for neighbors to get to know and trust each other. Others could include working in schools to change gender norms, or creating ‘youth empowerment zones’ that help kids build leadership skills. Even building a bike path, putting up a playground, or painting a community mural could be examples of primary prevention. They might seem unrelated, but improving how we live, learn, work, and play can prevent domestic violence, as well as enhance our overall health and wellness.”

    Public and not-for-profit community-based organizations, faith institutions, and Rhode Island middle schools and high schools are eligible to apply for DVPF Implementation Projects and Community Micro-grants. Only established 501(c)(3) organizations that have been operating for at least 2 years will be considered. Community groups and associations that are not 501(c)(3) can use a local fiscal agent to apply. 

    “This huge step toward ending domestic and dating violence in Rhode Island would not be possible without the sponsors and champions of the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund,” said DeBare. “Governor Raimondo, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, House Speaker Nick Mattiello, Senator Maryellen Goodwin, Rep. Chris Blazejewski, former State Rep. Elaine Coderre, and Ann Burke, the co-founder of the Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund, were instrumental in getting this legislation passed. Their passion and commitment will improve the lives of countless Rhode Islanders.”

    Applications for both Implementation Project awards and Community Micro-grants must be received by 3:00 P.M. on November 30, 2016. Applications should be emailed in PDF format to Lucy Rios, Director of Prevention & Communications, at lucy@ricadv.org. An informational technical assistance call for all potential applicants will be held by RICADV staff at 11:00 a.m. on November 2, 2016. More information can be found on RICADV’s website at www.ricadv.org/dvpf.

     

    About the RICADV: 

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. Formed in 1979, the organization provides support to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and provides leadership on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

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  • 9/30/16 - Letter to the Editor: October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR
     
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 30, 2016
     

    The month of October brings many traditions to Rhode Island: hay rides, pumpkin carving, and apple picking, among others. It also marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, honoring the 1 in 8 women who will develop the illness in their lifetime.

    Many do not realize that October is also the national awareness month for a less frequently discussed, but equally important, public health issue: domestic violence.

    1 in 4 Rhode Islanders will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. In fact, 1 in 10 Rhode Island high schoolers report that they have already experienced physical dating violence. Because RI communities are so close-knit, we have all witnessed the suffering caused by domestic violence, or know someone who has.

    In 2016, seven lives have been lost to domestic violence murders in Rhode Island. Even when domestic violence does not escalate to homicide, abusive relationships are harming our neighbors, family members, friends, and coworkers.

    This October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), we must all take a stand, because we each have a role to play. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. As a community, we can help to create a Rhode Island where domestic violence is no longer tolerated, to raise awareness of the issue and explore ways in which we can all work together to prevent it.

    There are many ways to get involved this October. Attend one of the many events throughout Rhode Island that have been organized to raise awareness and support victims and survivors of domestic violence. Like and share content online to show that you say “NO MORE” to domestic violence. Speak with your family and friends about healthy relationships and warning signs of abuse.

    If each one of us makes a commitment this October to say or do something to help end domestic violence, just think about the collective impact we can have. Imagine the change we can be in the world. Visit www.nomoreri.org and follow the RICADV on Facebook to learn more about how you can help build a safer, more peaceful Rhode Island.

    Sincerely,

    Deborah DeBare
    Executive Director
    Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

     
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  • 6/2/16 - Letter to the Editor: Community Service Grants are Vital to Rhode Islanders

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR
     
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 2, 2016
     
    There has been a great deal of press during the past few weeks about the Community Service Grant program, and we feel that it is imperative to offer our perspective. These grants are used to provide critical services to our neediest Rhode Islanders. The funding received by our respective agencies is essential to continuing these services to the Rhode Island community. Collectively, over the past year, these grants have had enormous impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders:
     
    The Rhode Island Community Food Bank assisted 60,000 people per month providing food for families in need.
     
    Crossroads Rhode Island helped 3,000 people experiencing homelessness with housing, basic needs, case management, employment training and supportive services.
     
    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its member agencies provided court advocacy, shelter, safety planning, advocacy and counseling to 8,934 victims of domestic violence and responded to over 18,800 calls for help and information.
     
    Day One provided outreach and services addressing sexual assault and trafficking to over 7,000 Rhode Islanders.
     
    Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island assisted 2,400 immigrants and refugees with applying for citizenship, obtaining or maintaining their legal permanent resident status, work authorization, and other humanitarian relief, provided free walk-in immigration consultations to 3,800 individuals, and provided 1,250 people with contextualized workforce training, English as a Second Language, and family literacy classes.
     
    The United Way assisted 1,600 children, leveraging an additional $450,000 in private funding to ensure children can access summer programs that increase their learning over the summer.
     
    All of these services are vital to stabilizing lives and removing barriers in our state so that people can recover, heal, eat, sleep, work and move toward empowering their lives. These organizations, and many others that receive community service grants, rely on this funding for core services.
     
    We are grateful that this funding exists; we urge the legislature to continue providing these grants; and we welcome any additional measures necessary for transparency and accountability.
     
     
    Sincerely,

    Karen A. Santilli, President & CEO, Crossroads Rhode Island
    Peg Langhammer, Executive Director, Day One
    Kathleen Cloutier, Executive Director, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island
    Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    Andrew Schiff, CEO, Rhode Island Community Food Bank
    Anthony Maione, President & CEO, United Way of Rhode Island

     
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  • 5/26/16 - Opinion Editorial: It's time to make the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund a reality for Rhode Island

    OPINION EDITORIAL
     
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 26, 2016
     
    Already in 2016, four Rhode Islanders have been killed in domestic violence homicides. In the last ten years, 54 lives were lost to domestic violence murders in Rhode Island. These tragedies are all the more abhorrent because we know domestic violence homicides do not come out of nowhere–they often stem from a longstanding pattern of abuse that can rapidly escalate to murder. If there are steps we can take to save even one life, shouldn’t we?
     
    But Rhode Island is failing, and falling behind. Domestic violence is preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), yet currently we have no state funding dedicated to domestic violence prevention!
     
    Even when domestic violence does not escalate to homicide, it is hurting our loved ones and threatening our communities—between 8,000 and 10,000 victims of domestic violence and their children receive services each year. The Rhode Island General Assembly must respond to this public health crisis. When people are suffering and dying here in our own state, inaction is simply not an option.
     
    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) and its member agencies are leading the charge nationally with innovative approaches to prevent intimate partner violence. Now is the time for the General Assembly to stand behind this pioneering work and fund evidence-substantiated strategies that can reduce the rates of domestic violence in our state.
     
    For four years in a row, the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund legislation (S2900 Goodwin / H7683 Blazejewski) has been in front of the General Assembly. Each year the bill has been submitted, it has overwhelmingly passed in the Senate but never had a vote in the House of Representatives.
     
    This past week, the Senate again took a major step forward by passing this important legislation. The House now has a powerful opportunity to save lives, but the window to take action is coming to a close. With less than a month left in the 2016 legislative session, Rhode Island families are looking to their Representatives in the House to protect them and their loved ones and to safeguard our state’s future.
     
    In the long-term, investing in domestic violence prevention will save lives—perhaps even the life of someone you know. Now is the time to make the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund a reality for Rhode Island. It’s the right thing to do.
     
    - Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
     
     
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  • 3/16/16 - R.I. House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings on Recommendations to Prevent Domestic Violence Homicides

    In February, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence released a report detailing the 54 domestic violence homicides in Rhode Island over the last ten years.

    On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on two of the recommendations from the report that will impact Rhode Island’s ability to reduce rates of domestic violence and prevent future domestic violence homicides.

    [Providence, RI – March 16, 2016] Rhode Island lost 54 lives to domestic violence homicides within the past 10 years. In the first two months of 2016, there have already been two more Rhode Islanders murdered by their abusers. Domestic violence homicides do not come out of nowhere – they begin as a pattern of domestic violence that escalates to murder. The Rhode Island General Assembly must take these murders seriously and realize that as lawmakers, they have the power and the responsibility to act to prevent future domestic violence homicides.

    Today, March 16, 2016, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on two bills that will help prevent domestic violence homicides in Rhode Island. These bills would establish a much-needed fund for the prevention of domestic violence and update Rhode Island’s outdated stalking law.

    House Bill 7683 would establish a domestic violence prevention fund in Rhode Island. This is the fourth year that the bill has been submitted, and though it has passed unanimously in the Senate, it has repeatedly stalled in the House. This year, the bill is again being introduced in the House by Rep. Chris Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence).

    The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund is essential to stopping the pattern of domestic violence before it begins. If passed, the bill would – for the first time – create a steady stream of state funding for domestic violence prevention programs. These resources would help alleviate the burden on local agencies born out of the consistent, comprehensive cuts to federal and state funding, which have limited their ability to invest in prevention.

    “The funds generated by the passing of this bill into law would be used to stop domestic before it starts. Crisis intervention services provide invaluable lifelines to those impacted by domestic violence. We must continue to supply them, and we must also focus on primary prevention if we wish to end domestic violence,” said Deborah DeBare, executive director of the RICADV.

    Nearly 10,000 Rhode Islanders sought multiple crisis services for domestic violence in 2015, and seven lives were lost to domestic violence homicide. Allocating state funds to prevention programming is not optional; it is imperative.

    House Bill 7797 – updating Rhode Island’s stalking law – also has the potential to save lives by stopping the cycle of violence before it escalates to homicide. The RICADV’s Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island, 2006-2015 report, released on February 25 of this year, noted that “many of the intimate partner homicide incidents shared common elements that are known to indicate a heightened risk of homicide. In 14 of the 41 cases, there were indications that the perpetrator had been stalking the victim before the homicide.” Because stalking is an underreported crime, the actual stalking occurrences for this group of homicide victims was likely much higher.

    Nationally, 76% of women who were murdered by their intimate partners had been stalked by their killer prior to the murder – even more than those who had been physically assaulted by the perpetrator prior to the homicide. Stronger stalking laws can end the course of stalking and stop the perpetrator before the violence escalates to homicide.

    Rhode Island’s current stalking law was passed in the 1990s, based on the national model stalking code from 1993. However, in 2006, the national model code was updated based on a better understanding of the patterns and dangers of stalking. Rhode Island must update its law to be in line with the new recommendations.

    Domestic violence stalking victims have a particularly difficult time receiving protection under the current law, because prosecutors have to prove that the stalker’s specific goal was to scare the victim. In cases where there was previously a relationship, many stalkers will avoid being held accountable for their actions by claiming they were just trying to “work things out” or “get back together.” Leaving this loophole in the law is putting victims at risk; Rhode Island must do better.

    Introduced in the House by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, and Warwick), House Bill 7797 will align Rhode Island’s stalking law with the rest of the nation and protect victims while holding abusers and stalkers accountable for their actions. A companion bill (Senate 270S) has been introduced by Sen. Donna Nesslebush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence).

    The Legislature owes it to Rhode Island communities and families to implement these changes now to protect victims, stop domestic violence homicides, and protect Rhode Island’s future. Together, we can end domestic violence.

    To view theDomestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island, 2006-2015report, visit: http://www.ricadv.org/en/what-we-do/policy/new-report-domestic-violence-homicides-in-rhode-island-2006-2015. To request a hard copy, contact the RICADV at 401-467-9940.

     

    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. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

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  • 2/25/16 - The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Releases New Report: Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island, 2006-2015

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Releases New Report: Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island, 2006-2015

    This first-of-its-kind report for the State of Rhode Island analyzes data from the past 10 years, identifying trends and proposing recommendations for the prevention of domestic violence homicides

    [Providence, RI – February 25, 2016] Today, 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.

    On Thursday, February 25, the RICADV held a press conference at the State House to announce the report’s release. Speakers included Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin; Jami Ouellette, the sister of a victim of a 2012 domestic violence homicide; Ann Burke, the mother of a victim of a 2005 domestic violence homicide and co-founder of the Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund; and Deborah DeBare, executive director of the RICADV.

    “We have published this report in honor of the lives of those who were taken from us too soon at the hands of violent abusers, as well as the victims' surviving family members and friends who must now cope with the aftermath of these tragedies. Our hearts are with the families and friends who have lost their loved ones,” said DeBare.

    During the past ten years, from 2006 to 2015, 54 people lost their lives to domestic violence homicides in Rhode Island over the course of 48 incidents. Between three and nine homicide incidents occurred each year. By analyzing the collective data from these cases, the RICADV has identified trends and patterns that paint the big picture of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

    Key findings from the report include the following:

    Domestic violence homicide is a violence against women issue. Overwhelmingly, the victims in this report were women killed by men. Of the 45 victims killed in intimate partner homicide incidents, 34 (or 76%) were female intimate partners of a male perpetrator. Violence against women led to the murders of men as well—of the 7 men in the report who lost their lives in intimate partner homicide incidents, 4 of them were killed when they were bystanders to an attack on a woman by her male intimate partner.

    Guns and domestic violence continue to be a deadly combination. While a significant number of intimate partner homicide victims lost their lives as a result of stabbing, guns were the most commonly used weapons in these homicides. Firearms made already violent situations more deadly, increasing the likelihood that more people would be killed; though comparable numbers of incidents involved firearms and stabbing, considerably more victims were killed with firearms than by stabbing. In every incident where a bystander was killed, a gun was used.

    Many of the intimate partner homicide incidents shared common elements that are known to indicate a heightened risk of homicide. In 14 of the 41 cases, there were indications that the perpetrator had been stalking the victim before the homicide. Twenty of the 41 perpetrators had been arrested for domestic violence in the past. In 22 of the 41 cases, there was evidence that the victim had already left, or was planning to leave, the abusive relationship when the homicide occurred.

    The report also includes recommendations by the RICADV that are based on best practices in the field and evidence-substantiated ways to prevent domestic violence homicides.

    The five recommendations are as follows:

    1. Rhode Island must continue to invest in a coordinated community response to domestic violence and foster collaboration between and among law enforcement, courts, and victim advocates.

    2. The State of Rhode Island must implement dangerousness assessments and screen all domestic violence criminal cases for lethality risk factors.

    3. Rhode Island must pass legislation to prohibit convicted domestic violence perpetrators and perpetrators subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns.

    4. Rhode Island must pass legislation to strengthen the state’s current laws against stalking and consistently enforce protective orders.

    5. Rhode Island must take steps to stop domestic violence before it happens in the first place and establish a fund that will support evidence-substantiated public health approaches to the primary prevention of domestic violence.


    Rhode Island cannot afford another deadly year of domestic violence. Last year, seven lives were lost to domestic violence homicides. Already in 2016, two more Rhode Islanders have been murdered at the hands of their abusers. In the devastating wake of these tragedies, there are steps Rhode Island can and must take to protect victims of domestic violence, hold abusers accountable, and, ultimately, save lives.

    To download Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island, 2006-2015, visit www.ricadv.org. To request a hard copy, contact the RICADV at 401-467-9940.

     

    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. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

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  • 1/28/16 - Rhode Island Youth Invited to Enter Lip Sync Video Contest

    Rhode Island Youth Invited to Enter Lip Sync Video Contest to Help End Dating Violence

    During February, national Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month,
    the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is launching a statewide Lip Sync Video Contest

    [Warwick, RI - January 28, 2016] Thanks to Jimmy Fallon, lip sync contests have become increasingly popular on television and online. This February, during national Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, teenagers and young adults between the ages of 12 and 24 who live in Rhode Island are invited to enter a Lip Sync Video Contest to promote awareness and help end dating violence.

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is sponsoring the Lip Sync Video Contest to encourage young people and the adults in their lives to have conversations about healthy relationships, positive and empowering messages, dating violence, and more.

    “Every day our youth are being exposed to all types of media,” said Jasmine Torres, Community Education and Prevention Coordinator at the Women’s Center of Rhode Island, one of the RICADV’s six member agencies. “Teens and parents are likely to recognize songs with overtly misogynistic, angry, or violent messages. But current popular songs about love have messages that can be harder to identify as obsessive or unhealthy – like ‘I can’t live without you’ or ‘you can never get away from me.’ It might seem romantic, but that type of behavior is controlling and may actually be a sign of dating violence.”

    Young people and the adults in their lives can use the contest as an opportunity to analyze media. Consciously examining songs and their messages can help spark important discussions that will pave the way for further communication throughout the teen and young adult years.

    “Media literacy is a known protective factor against a wide variety of negative health outcomes,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “By empowering young people with a better understanding of the media, we can help reduce high risk behaviors and susceptibility to violence.”

    “We know that unhealthy behavior in relationships begins even before middle school,” said Torres. “Teens need the vocabulary and experience to talk about what’s healthy and what’s not in relationships. They need to know that they have trusted adults they can turn to if they or a friend is experiencing dating violence. This Lip Sync Video Contest is a perfect opportunity to connect and talk about some of these issues – plus, it’s fun!”

    Contest rules and judging criteria include:

    • Videos should be 3 minutes or less in length and must feature a person or people lip syncing to one or more songs.
    • The person submitting the video entry must be a Rhode Island resident and must be between the ages of 12 and 24.
    • Each entry will be judged on creativity, stage presence, and choreography.
    • Each song choice should have messages of empowerment, peace, hope, respect, and/or healthy relationships.
    • Bonus points will be awarded for including the RICADV’s public awareness campaign slogan “Get Off the Bench!” and using the hashtags #NoMoreRI or #GetOffTheBench in a creative way.

    The involvement of positive role models in young people’s lives can have a huge impact, so bonus points will also be awarded for including a trusted adult in the video, whether a coach, teacher, parent, or other family member.

    “Our gym teacher, Ms. Maguire, is a big advocate for learning about dating violence,” said Katarina Ho, a Junior at North Kingstown High School and a student intern at the RICADV. “She is one of the reasons I became interested in volunteering with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. My soccer coach, Coach D’Arezzo, was another.”

    Mark D’Arezzo, Head Coach of the North Kingstown Girls Soccer Team, encouraged his players to get involved in the contest. A group of the athletes created a promotional video for the RICADV, lip syncing to the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

    “I tell my daughter, as well as my soccer players, that they have the right to feel safe and respected in all of their relationships, and they can be strong, assertive, and stand up for themselves – both on and off the field,” said D’Arezzo. “They had the opportunity to do just that with this video, and I’m really proud of them for getting involved!”

    The RICADV will be awarding 3 cash prizes. One Grand Prize winner will be awarded $500; a First Runner-Up will be awarded $250; and a “People’s Choice” winner – determined by votes on the RICADV’s Facebook page – will win $250.

    Contest entries will be accepted from Monday, February 1, 2016 at 8:00AM to Monday, February 29, 2016 at 5:00PM. Entries will be accepted via email. Submit videos and send any questions about the contest or appropriate song choice to kate@ricadv.org.

    Official rules, judging criteria, and contest flyers can be found on the RICADV’s website (www.ricadv.org/en/how-to-help/do-more-current-campaign).

    The RICADV will post all official contest entries on the “Lip Sync Video Contest” playlist on the RICADV’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ricadv). Contest participants are encouraged to share the RICADV’s official contest entry Facebook posts and invite their followers to visit the RICADV’s Facebook page to vote.


    About the RICADV:

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. The organization was formed in 1979 to support and assist the six domestic violence prevention agencies in Rhode Island. The RICADV provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.


    Video Link – North Kingstown High School Girls Soccer Team Promotional Lip Sync Video
    https://www.facebook.com/ricadv/videos

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  • 8/2/16 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Homicide of Andres Arguijo Acosta

    By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
     
    [Providence, RI – Tuesday, August 2, 2016] We were deeply saddened to learn about the homicide of Andres Arguijo Acosta, a 33-year-old Providence man who was murdered by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend on Saturday morning. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends, especially his girlfriend and his three children. Andres’ death is the seventh domestic violence murder in Rhode Island in 2016, and the second in as many days in Providence.
     
    Rhode Island law only recognizes domestic violence in crimes that occur between those directly involved in an abusive relationship, but the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence tracks any homicide incident where domestic violence leads to the loss of life in Rhode Island communities, including cases in which bystanders and children are killed.
     
    It is important to recognize that abuse does not only affect the victim; abusers often target bystanders – especially family members, pets, or new dating partners – in order to exert power and control over their victim. Harming or killing someone who is loved by the victim is domestic violence. There is no way around this fact, and we cannot hold back on calling this horrific act what it is – a domestic violence murder.
     
    Andres’ death is the second domestic violence murder of a bystander in 2016. In Providence on July 3, 2016, Cesar Alonzo was killed by his wife’s ex-boyfriend. In fact, between 2006 and 2015, six of the 54 victims killed in domestic violence homicide incidents in Rhode Island were bystanders (11%). Only eight months into this year, two of the seven people lost to domestic violence homicide have been bystanders. We must recognize and call out domestic violence when we see it occurring if we ever hope to stop it.
     
    As Rhode Islanders, we each have a part to play in naming domestic violence, knowing the warning signs, supporting those impacted by abuse, and finding ways to safely intervene. In the wake of this tragedy, we must take a stand and say NO MORE—not one more life. Together, we can prevent and end domestic violence.
     
     
    How You Can Help:
    The murder of Andres Arguijo-Acosta is a tragic reminder that domestic violence happens every day, and that victims are not the only ones impacted by abuse. If you are experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, call the Rhode Island statewide Helpline for 24-hour support at 800-494-8100.

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, we can help keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy. Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. If you know or suspect that someone in your life is a victim of domestic violence, you can help that person stay safe. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help the person create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the Helpline (800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.

     

    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 five domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

     

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  • 8/1/16 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Homicide of MaryJo Osgood

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

    [Providence, RI – Monday, August 1, 2016] Our hearts go out to the family and friends of MaryJo Osgood, who was fatally shot by her husband, Franklin Osgood, over the weekend before he took his own life. MaryJo’s death marks the sixth domestic violence homicide in Rhode Island in 2016.

    In a high-profile case such as this one, a lot of speculation is focused on the perpetrator–his employment as a police officer, his emotional health, his motive–while the experience of the victim is minimized and her death objectified. But we know that MaryJo Osgood was more than who she married or the way she died. MaryJo was a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, colleague, and friend. She will be missed dearly by those who knew her; let us not forget her.

    Let us also be sure to call murder-suicides what they are: the ultimate act of domestic violence.

    Unfortunately, when an abuser murders his partner, the tragedy is often incorrectly portrayed as the result of “domestic strife,” or in response to the perpetrator “being deeply troubled,” or the abuser is said to “have snapped” in response to a situation.

    This tragedy reminds us that even when there is not an official police record of domestic violence, or the perpetrator appears to outsiders to be a “nice guy,” abuse can exist. Usually, there are signs. Domestic violence consists of a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviors which escalate over time. Victims often experience months or years of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse at the hands of their intimate partner without ever calling the police.

    Domestic violence is always a terrible crime, and victims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the officer–or in this case, former officer–is able to manipulate the systems or exert influence or use intimidation tactics to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim. Victims or bystanders are often unwilling or unable to report signs of abuse when a person in a position of power is the abuser. In addition, responding officers may be reluctant to believe that working partner or friend is a batterer. This can create a unique and difficult situation for victims.

    This tragedy also reminds us that anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence regardless of socio-economic, ethnic, racial, gender identity, sexual orientation, educational background, or profession. Domestic violence happens in every community and no one is immune to it. And because we cannot hold the batterer accountable in domestic violence murder-suicide cases, we must hold ourselves accountable as a community.

    As Rhode Islanders, we each have a part to play in naming domestic violence, knowing the warning signs, supporting those impacted by abuse, and finding ways to safely intervene. In the wake of this tragedy, we must take a stand and say NO MORE—not one more life. Together, we can prevent and end domestic violence.

     

    How You Can Help:

    The murder of MaryJo Osgood is a tragic reminder that domestic violence happens every day behind closed doors. If you are experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, call the Rhode Island statewide Helpline for 24-hour support at 800-494-8100.

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, we can help keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy. Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. If you know or suspect that someone in your life is a victim of domestic violence, you can help that person stay safe. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help the person create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the Helpline (800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.

     

    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 five domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

     

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  • 7/6/16 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Homicide of Cesar Alonzo

    By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Vanessa Volz, Executive Director, Sojourner House

    [Warwick, RI – Wednesday, July 6, 2016] We are deeply saddened by the loss of life that occurred in Providence this past weekend. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, and community of Cesar Alonzo, who was killed by his wife’s ex-boyfriend, Axel Morales. Alonzo’s wife, Karla Estrada, was injured but survived.

    This incident marks the fifth domestic violence homicide to occur in Rhode Island in 2016. While Rhode Island law only recognizes domestic violence in crimes that occur between those directly involved in an abusive relationship, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence tracks any homicide incident where domestic violence leads to the loss of life in Rhode Island communities, including cases in which bystanders and children are killed.

    As this tragedy shows, the dynamics of domestic violence can continue even after the partners have separated, and those directly involved are not the only people who can be endangered. Between 2006 and 2015, six of the 54 victims killed in domestic violence homicide incidents in Rhode Island were bystanders (11%).

    Domestic violence does not exist in a vacuum of victims, perpetrators, police, and courtrooms. It exists in our communities, where we all live and work, where our children learn and play. Domestic violence is happening every day, in every city and town in Rhode Island; even when it does not reach the criminal justice system, it involves our family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

    As Rhode Islanders, we each have a part to play in naming domestic violence, knowing the warning signs, supporting those impacted by abuse, and finding ways to safely intervene. In the wake of this tragedy, we must take a stand and say NO MORE—not one more life. Together, we can prevent and end domestic violence.

    How You Can Help:

    Domestic violence happens every day in every Rhode Island community. If you are experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, call the Rhode Island statewide Helpline for 24-hour support at 800-494-8100.

    As family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, we can help prevent another tragedy. Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. If you know or suspect that someone in your life is experiencing domestic violence, you can help that person stay safe. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help the person create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the Helpline (800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.

    About Sojourner House:

    Sojourner House is a comprehensive domestic violence agency serving Providence and Northern Rhode Island. Sojourner House operates an Emergency Safe House, Transitional Housing Program, support groups, a summer camp for children who witness violence, teen dating violence prevention programs, and more. Sojourner House provides free services to victims of relationship violence regardless of age, gender, citizenship, or any other characteristic. For more information, please visit www.sojournerri.org.

    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. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's five local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

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  • 5/17/16 - Statement Regarding the Fourth Domestic Violence Homicide of 2016

    By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Lori N. DiPersio, Executive Director, Women’s Resource Center

    [Warwick, RI – Tuesday, May 17, 2016] We are deeply saddened to learn about yet another life lost to domestic violence in our state. Last night in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Lisa Almeida-Laureanno shot and killed her husband, Manuel Laureanno. We extend our heartfelt condolences to everyone who has been impacted by this tragedy, which marks the fourth domestic violence homicide to occur in Rhode Island so far in 2016. It is a stark reminder that domestic violence continues to take a toll on our communities and that our state must take steps to prevent future homicides.

    While details of the incident have not yet been released, Portsmouth Police have reported that they had responded in the past to domestic violence at the address where the homicide occurred. According to the Rhode Island Judiciary website, Mr. Laureanno had been charged with domestic violence crimes in Portsmouth at least three times since 2000, including the 2009 incident mentioned by the police, where they identified Ms. Almeida-Laureanno as the victim. Ms. Almeida-Laureanno is now charged with the domestic homicide of her husband.

    While we cannot comment on the specifics of this particular case, we know that the victim had a documented history of domestic violence, and it is important for us to remember that domestic violence homicides do not come out of nowhere. Often, they are the culmination of a long pattern of abusive, controlling behaviors used by an abuser against their intimate partner; in many cases, homicide is the final act of abuse against that partner.

    In some cases, however, the homicide is committed by the battered partner against their abuser. The latter is especially common in cases where men with a documented history of abuse are killed by their female partners. For example, a 2005 New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision study found that 67% of women sent to prison for killing someone close to them had been abused by the person they killed. For more information, see the National Clearinghouse on the Defense of Battered Women (http://ncdbw.org/) or the Battered Women’s Justice Project (http://www.bwjp.org/).

    Within the last ten years, 54 domestic violence homicides have occurred in Rhode Island, as documented in our recent report, Domestic Violence Homicides in Rhode Island: 2006-2015. Now, so far in 2016, four more domestic violence homicides have occurred in our state.

    The report’s recommendations for preventing future homicides in Rhode Island closely informed our 2016 legislative priority, the Homicide Prevention Plan. The plan includes bills that would establish dedicated state funding for domestic violence prevention, implement risk assessments for those arrested for domestic violence, keep guns out of the hands of convicted abusers, and update our state’s stalking laws.

    In the wake of this tragedy, we continue to call on Rhode Islanders and the General Assembly to take domestic violence seriously, and for our legislature to take these significant steps to prevent domestic violence homicides in our state. All Rhode Islanders deserve to live lives free from violence. Our state can do more to protect victims of domestic violence and save lives.

     

    How You Can Help:

    Domestic violence happens every day in every community in Rhode Island. If you are experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, call the Rhode Island statewide Helpline for confidential 24-hour support at 800-494-8100.

    The six local domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island provide a wide array of services for victims of domestic violence and their children, including emergency shelter, support groups, and assistance with the legal system. Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org. Rhode Islanders are urged to call 911 immediately if they see someone being hurt.

     

    About the Women's Resource Center:

    The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) serves Newport and Bristol Counties by leading domestic violence prevention through the empowerment of individuals and the community. The agency was founded in 1977 to provide comprehensive domestic violence intervention and prevention services that educate, advocate for, and shelter any individual in need of assistance. Each year, WRC helps women, children, families, men, and the elderly to obtain the services they need to secure their physical, mental, emotional, and financial safety from domestic abuse. The Women’s Resource Center is a member of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's six local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

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  • 2/19/16 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Homicide of Maria Cecilia Velasquez Palacio

    By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Linda Impagliazzo, Executive Director, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center

    [Providence, RI – Friday, February 19, 2016] We are devastated by the domestic violence murder of Maria Cecilia Velasquez Palacio. On February 11, Palacio was stabbed to death by her husband, Ariel Alonzo Montoya, in their Pawtucket apartment, with the couple’s adult son home at the time of the attack. Montoya murdered Palacio and killed the family’s dog before killing himself. We are deeply saddened by this tragic case of domestic violence and extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who have been impacted by this heinous crime.

    One week before the murder occurred, Palacio reported to Pawtucket police that her husband was threatening her, had been abusive toward her in the past, and that she was afraid. Domestic violence can escalate quickly, and tragically in this case, the violence rapidly escalated to the point of homicide. We commend the Pawtucket Police Department for taking this situation seriously, immediately recognizing it as a case of domestic violence, and working with the Law Enforcement Advocate from Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center to follow up with the victim multiple times through various means. Palacio went to the police in an attempt to break the cycle of violence she was experiencing, but communication following her initial contact collapsed.

    Palacio had reportedly moved out of the apartment she shared with Montoya, and we know that the time period after a victim leaves or attempts to leave their abuser is very dangerous. People who perpetrate domestic violence do so to exert power and control over their victims; when a victim leaves or attempts to leave, there is a higher risk of escalating violence as the perpetrator tries to retain power and control over the situation. Homicide risk is most elevated shortly after a victim leaves the abusive relationship—one study shows that 49% of intimate partner homicides of female partners occurred within two months of separation.1

    When victims of domestic violence are so moved by fear to seek protection from law enforcement, those involved want to do everything they can to help. In some situations, law enforcement may be able to see that a domestic violence situation is dangerous but do not have the tools they need to hold the abuser accountable. Rhode Island must take steps that we know will save lives, such as implementing ways to monitor abusers’ patterns and track lethality risk factors in order to identify when an abuser’s violence is escalating.

    In the wake of this horrendous crime, the second domestic violence homicide in 2016, our state can and must do more to protect victims of domestic violence and prevent future tragedies—before we lose yet another loved one, friend, and community member to domestic violence.

    1Hotton, T. (2001). Spousal violence after separation. Juristat, 21(7), 1-19.

     

    How You Can Help:

    The murder of Maria Cecilia Velasquez Palacio is a tragic reminder that domestic violence happens every day behind closed doors. If you are experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is, call the Rhode Island statewide Helpline for 24-hour support at 800-494-8100.

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, we can help keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy. Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. If you know or suspect that someone in your life is a victim of domestic violence, you can help that person stay safe. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help the person create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the Helpline (800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.

    About Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center:

    Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center has been providing services to victims of domestic violence in the Blackstone Valley area for over two decades. It is their voices, their struggles, and their experiences which guide the work. The non-profit organization’s mission is to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and to provide education and awareness on the issue of domestic violence. Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center is a member of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Visit www.bvadvocacycenter.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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's six local domestic violence agencies provide 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.

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Releases & Statements – 2015
  • Releases

  • Statements

  • 11/24/15 - Deborah DeBare Recognized for 20 Years of Service as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    A visionary leader, Deborah DeBare has devoted her career to ending domestic violence in Rhode Island

    [Providence, RI – November 24, 2015] Times have changed over the last 20 years, but Deborah DeBare’s commitment to ending domestic violence has never wavered. This month, she celebrates her twentieth year serving as Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV).

    “For the past 20 years, Deborah DeBare has been an extraordinary leader and visionary advocate on behalf of domestic violence victims throughout Rhode Island,” said Kim A. Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “She has built and empowered an impressive statewide coalition that has changed both laws and lives.”

    "Deborah DeBare is the heart of RICADV. Her tireless advocacy and unending compassion for families [impacted by domestic violence] is the foundation for their brighter, healthier, safer futures. Congratulations on a distinguished 20 years at the RICADV, and thank you for being a hero to so many Rhode Islanders," said Congressman Jim Langevin.

    In the early 1980s, many people considered domestic violence to be a family issue that mainly affected battered wives, and few laws existed to address the problem. Women were told to “go home and be better wives,” while violence impacting men, dating partners, the elderly, and others was not considered domestic violence.

    It was not until 1994, when Deborah DeBare was serving as the Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County (at that time, the Women’s Resource Center of South County), when Congress first passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This landmark federal legislation has had an enormous impact; it has strengthened stalking penalties, added protections for victims, enhanced domestic violence investigations and prosecutions, and provided funding for domestic violence programs.

    “Attitudes have transformed so much over the last 20 years,” reflected DeBare. “When I first became involved in the work to end domestic violence, healthcare and law enforcement professionals did not know how to respond to violence in the home. Even if they wanted to do something, they often didn’t have the necessary tools. Many reporters at that time would call domestic violence incidents ‘lovers’ quarrels.’ People acted as though violence between loved ones was a normal part of a relationship.”

    In 1995, when DeBare was named Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, she was determined to change that. She quickly recognized that in order to end domestic violence, more work had to be done to change prevailing cultural norms. She prioritized the work of the RICADV to focus on legislative policy, community outreach (particularly involving survivors of domestic violence), public awareness, and media advocacy. She has encouraged the RICADV and its member agencies to become leaders in domestic violence prevention.

    These emphases have created substantial change in Rhode Island. Some of the major accomplishments during DeBare’s tenure include the following:

    • In 1996, a statewide toll-free Helpline was established to provide crisis intervention, support, information, and referrals to victims of crime throughout Rhode Island.
    • After working for many years with the state legislature to strengthen restraining order laws and keep guns away from abusers, the Homicide Prevention Law was passed in Rhode Island in 2005, providing victims increased safety from gun violence.
    • In 2006, the RICADV passed stalking legislation so that victims of stalking and cyberstalking can obtain protective orders against their abusers, which extend to victims’ minor children.
    • In 2012, legislation passed that elevated the dangerous crime of strangulation to a felony level.
    • In 2012, Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships (a RICADV task force of domestic violence survivors) was honored as one of four programs in the nation to receive the Mary Byron Celebrating Solutions Award for addressing domestic violence through innovative strategies. The RICADV is the first state domestic violence coalition to have a survivor task force that is more than a speaker’s bureau, because in addition, members actively work on legislative advocacy and help inform the RICADV’s work.
    • In 2013, the RICADV received national recognition from the Office on Violence Against Women as well as an award from the Rhode Island Foundation for the innovative KNOW MORE Video Project featuring real bystander and survivor testimonials.

    “Because domestic violence still occurs at an alarming frequency, we often forget how far we’ve come,” said Lucy Rios, Director of Prevention and Communications at the RICADV. “Too often, the tireless advocacy and innovative strides made by leaders like Deb go unrecognized. She has spent 20 years keeping victims’ needs at the center of our mission and survivors’ voices at the forefront of our work. Her efforts have been life-saving for many Rhode Islanders.”

    On Thursday, November 19, colleagues, friends, and survivors posted their gratitude to DeBare on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #ThanksDeb and #20years.

    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's member 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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately. 

  • 10/19/15 - Ten Men Summit Looks to Create a World Free of Violence

    In collaboration with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Rhode Island male community leaders convened at Providence College to discuss healthy masculinity and ways they can prevent and reduce domestic violence


    [Providence, RI – October 19, 2015] What does it mean to be a man in American society? What responsibilities and privileges come with being male? How can we, as men, build a world free of violence? These were the primary questions driving the second annual Ten Men Summit hosted by Providence College on Wednesday, October 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

    “Almost from infancy, boys are told they have to be tough, be unemotional, not be a wuss, win at all costs,” said Lee Clasper-Torch, the Men’s Engagement Coordinator for the Ten Men program. “These messages limit their capacity to experience all of their emotions and be whole people, whole men. Our Ten Men Summit was a venue for men of all ages and backgrounds to get together to discuss these issues. Before we can change the culture, we must discuss the culture.”

    Ten Men is an initiative created by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) as part of a larger statewide initiative to change social norms, funded by the DELTA FOCUS grant. The Ten Men Coordinator, Lee Clasper-Torch, was a teacher at Moses Brown where he spent 25 years coaching football and wrestling for the Quakers. He now serves as an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at CCRI. Working regularly with young people, especially men, Lee recognizes that they face unique challenges and pressures that exist in a culture where violence is acceptable, or even encouraged.

    “Women have been at the forefront of domestic violence prevention, but men are committing the vast majority of violent acts, whether rape, domestic violence, or murder,” reflected Lee. “Most men are not violent. They are not rapists or abusers, so they often think, ‘That’s not my problem.’ But it is our problem. We, as men, need to be leading the charge to look at the root causes of violence in our culture and to prevent it from happening.”

    The Ten Men project consists of a group of active members who meet regularly to discuss important issues, education, and cutting-edge topics around masculinity. The men then carry the information back to their communities to share meaningful conversations. This train-the-trainer approach helps deliver information about healthy masculinity to a broad range of people across Rhode Island, since the Ten Men includes community leaders such as a Providence police officer, a Newport artist, and a Jewish community leader, among others. The Ten Men Summit was a natural progression of this work, bringing together a wide range of men from all age groups and backgrounds, from college students to working professionals and retirees.

    “I deal with domestic violence daily,” said Marlon Ramdehal, a Ten Men member and the Associate Director of Year Up Providence. “Whether it is a family member, one of the students in my program, or a friend, every single day I am affected by male violence towards women. I am here to stand up against violence. I am here to say, ‘No more!’”

    Marlon is one of the many men who will use the knowledge he gained at the Summit to engage others in healthy conversations about respect for others. During the roundtable discussions, many men expressed that they are already doing some type of men’s work in their lives, whether that means working with young men professionally, mentoring youth in church groups, or inviting family to participate in discussions.

    At the same time they made the commitment to be role models for young men in their lives, the men committed to standing up against violence by being active bystanders – by standing up, speaking out, intervening in potentially harmful situations, and alerting others for assistance when necessary.

    “Women are often told, ‘You should always walk with someone late at night. You should watch your drink so no one drops anything in it. You should be careful what you wear,’” said Dr. Jim Campbell, Title IX Coordinator at Providence College.“But that puts the impetus on women not to get raped or beaten up. That blames the victim. Men are often told, ‘Don’t rape; don’t resort to violence.’ But most men are not rapists and do not resort to violence, so they can tune out. What we really need to be saying is that there are many steps everyone can take to stop violence. We should all be active bystanders and get involved.”

    The Summit followed a powerful year of men organizing in Rhode Island to stop gender violence. This is the third cohort of Ten Men, which builds momentum each year. In June, Ten Men released digital stories that featured current members sharing why they chose to participate in the Ten Men project and why preventing domestic violence is important to them. On August 28, Ten Men members attended a community conference hosted by Roger Williams University and co-sponsored by the RICADV, which featured internationally recognized social theorist Dr. Jackson Katz. Dr. Katz is one of America’s leading anti-sexist male activists and advocate of the bystander approach to gender violence prevention.

    It is not enough to stiffen the punishments for those who commit violence. There must be a shift in attitudes in order to prevent the violence from happening in the first place. Ten Men members are leading the charge.

    For more information, call RICADV at 401-467-9940, or visit www.ricadv.org/tenmen.

    About Ten Men:

    Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s DELTA FOCUS grant, Ten Men is a project of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence that aims to engage Rhode Island men in the primary prevention of intimate partner violence. Ten Men members strive to educate themselves and others about the role that men must play in ending domestic violence; to raise the visibility of RI men engaged in domestic violence prevention efforts; and to mobilize communities in finding community-based solutions for preventing domestic violence.

    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island. The RICADV's member agencies provide a wide array of services for victims – including 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.

     

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  • 10/1/15 - Rhode Island, We’re Counting on You to “Get Off the Bench” and Help End Domestic Violence

    This October, national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence launches a statewide public awareness campaign featuring University of Rhode Island student athletes

    [Providence, RI – October 1, 2015] Another October 1st signals the start of another Domestic Violence Awareness Month, when, each year, advocates, survivors, and supporters unify around a national platform to raise critical awareness on the issue of domestic violence. But, this year, people may be listening more closely than ever.

    In 2014, the controversy in the NFL around the Ray Rice case spurred the entire country to take part in the conversations that advocates and survivors have been having for decades. From sports broadcasters and famous celebrities to family members and coworkers, everyone was talking about domestic violence – and in 2015, after decades of tireless advocacy to protect victims and break the silence, awareness has reached new heights.

    To build on this momentum, today, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) launches its statewide public awareness campaign, “Get Off the Bench!” featuring University of Rhode Island student athletes.

    This year’s public awareness campaign stems from a partnership between the RICADV and Rhody Sports Properties of Learfield Sports, the multimedia rights holder for URI Athletics and The Thomas M. Ryan Center that coordinates corporate partner engagement. The campaign includes outdoor advertising on buses and billboards throughout the state as well as public service announcements on television, radio, and Pandora, all with URI athletes challenging Rhode Islanders to play their part in ending domestic violence.

    “For too long, our culture has normalized viewing domestic violence as a private relationship matter or family problem rather than the community health epidemic we know it to be. The intense national dialogue sparked in 2014 served to amplify the voices of untold advocates and survivors, and our communities are starting to see the bigger picture – that domestic violence impacts all of us and that it will take all of us, together, to end it,” said Deborah DeBare, executive director of the RICADV. “We are excited to launch our new public awareness campaign featuring URI student athletes, who are speaking out against domestic violence and telling their fellow Rhode Islanders that it is time for them to do the same.”

    Many of the URI athletes who participated in this year’s campaign belong to the URi-STAND Bystander Intervention Program, whose mission is to provide education and awareness to the URI campus community regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking as well as to promote active bystanders to prevent these crimes.

    As the URi-STANDers lead the cultural shift needed to end relationship abuse on campus and beyond, the RICADV’s public awareness campaign is all about getting bystanders in the broader Rhode Island community to see that they, too, have a part to play. When communities step forward as leaders on this issue, individuals are more likely to have the support they need to act, which is why the RICADV’s 2014 campaign focused on helping different sectors – including healthcare, the workplace, and faith – take action to end domestic violence. This year, the campaign targets the Rhode Island athletic community and college campuses.

    “Athletes, students, coaches, parents, teachers, friends, or fans – it does not matter how old or young you are or what roles you play in life. Relationship abuse affects everyone in our communities, and we all have the ability to help end domestic violence,” said Deborah DeBare. “There are many ways you can say or do something to help, and that is what this year’s public awareness campaign is all about. We encourage everyone to visit www.nomoreri.org for more information.”

    Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) sponsors include Dave’s Marketplace, Alliance Security, Cox, and 92 PRO-FM. All month long, Dave’s Marketplace is raising funds to benefit the RICADV in addition to raising awareness among their patrons and employees. Customers can stop by their local Dave’s store and make a donation at checkout.

    DVAM will bring many events and initiatives from the six member agencies of the RICADV: Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, Women's Center of Rhode Island, and Women's Resource Center. For a full event calendar, visit www.nomoreri.org.

    This year, the RICADV is participating in the Purple Purse Challenge, a national fundraising campaign by The Allstate Foundation. For details, visit www.ricadv.org/purplepurse.

     

    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence.

    The RICADV's member agencies provide a wide array of services for victims, including 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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

     

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  • 6/18/15 - Ten Men Launches June Public Awareness Campaign as National Leader in the Work to Prevent Domestic Violence through Men’s Engagement

    Ten Men expands RI presence in 2015, the third year of a program funded by
    the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Radio and broadcast public service announcements will air throughout the month
    on WEEI, WHJY, Pandora, and local TV networks

    [Providence, RI – June 18, 2015] Following a year where domestic violence made national headlines – and the importance of healthy masculinity commanded the country’s attention in unprecedented ways – Ten Men has launched its 2015 Father’s Day public awareness campaign, inviting Rhode Island men to play a part in preventing domestic violence.

    Ten Men’s television public service announcement will air on local networks throughout the month, while the group’s radio public service announcement will air in English on 94 WHJY, 103.7 WEEI, and Pandora and in Spanish on Latina 100.3FM.

    The campaign arrives just in time for Father’s Day, calling RI men to think about how they use their voice and how they influence others. Everyone is a role model for certain people in their lives, which means everyone has the ability to help create a world without domestic violence.

    The Ten Men television PSA shows how all of us – educators, neighbors, business and faith leaders – can help prevent domestic violence in our communities. Across the nation, bystander action has gained momentum in the work to end domestic violence and sexual assault. As active bystanders, members of Ten Men recognize that domestic violence is not only a criminal justice issue but a widespread community health issue, one that requires a cultural shift and community-based solutions in order to prevent it from happening in the first place.

    Ten Men’s radio PSA emphasizes “Together, we can end domestic violence,” highlighting the fact that domestic violence is not just “a women’s issue” – we all, particularly men, have an important role to play in addressing this problem. As Ten Men enters its third program year, the project has expanded to include men of all ages, backgrounds, and fields of expertise, including a Political Science major at Rhode Island College, a Providence police officer, a Newport community artist, youth educators, and more. We cannot end domestic violence with only ten men, but as Ten Men continues to grow and more RI men get involved every year, their spheres of influence will broaden the project’s reach. Collectively, these men can create social change by challenging the learned attitudes and behaviors around masculinity, gender, and relationships that serve to perpetuate men’s violence against women.

    Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s DELTA FOCUS grant, Ten Men is a project of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV). The RICADV is one of only ten grantees in the country conducting leading-edge work in domestic violence prevention to develop an evidence base for stopping domestic violence before it starts.

    Ten Men members play an integral role in shaping the program structure through the RICADV’s formative evaluation methods, and the project continues to evolve using the direct feedback of participants. This year, as a result of that feedback, members of the 2013 and 2014 cohorts now have crystalized roles for continuing on as leaders in the work. As each cohort ends and a new one begins, members from past years can stay involved, culminating in a diverse statewide community of men committed to preventing domestic violence.

    Later this month, Ten Men will release digital stories that feature current members, all local Rhode Island men, sharing their stories, why they chose to participate in the Ten Men project, and why preventing domestic violence is important to them.

    On Friday, August 28, Roger Williams University will host a community conference featuring internationally recognized social theorist Dr. Jackson Katz. The RICADV is co-sponsoring this event, and Ten Men will be participating alongside Dr. Katz, one of America’s leading anti-sexist male activists and advocate of the bystander approach to gender violence prevention.

    Then, in October, Ten Men will host its second annual statewide Ten Men Summit, where Rhode Island men will join together in support of a shared vision – a world without domestic violence.


    About Ten Men:

    Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s DELTA FOCUS grant, Ten Men is a project of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) that aims to engage Rhode Island men in the primary prevention of intimate partner violence. Ten Men members strive to educate themselves and others about the role that men must play in ending domestic violence; to raise the visibility of RI men engaged in domestic violence prevention efforts; and to mobilize communities in finding community-based solutions for preventing domestic violence. For more information, visit www.ricadv.org/tenmen.

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  • 6/10/15 - The RI Senate Moves to Schedule the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund Legislation for a Committee Vote This Thursday After a State House Demonstration Yesterday by Advocates, Survivors, and Children Who Have Witnessed

    The Speaker of the House met directly with children who have witnessed domestic violence, but the House still has not moved on the bill.

    As of today, 505 children (and counting) have been present at domestic violence arrests since H5651/S650 was heard in March.

    [Providence – June 10, 2015] At yesterday's event, the Rhode Island Senate President and the Speaker of the House had the opportunity to hear directly from children who have witnessed domestic violence about their experiences. The Senate has taken immediate action in scheduling a committee vote on the bill this Thursday. The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence urges the House to follow their lead.

    To view photos from "The 500" demonstration, view the Dropbox album here.

    In the aftermath of the two horrific domestic violence murders involving children that occurred in May and the realization of the 505 children present at domestic violence arrests since March1, the General Assembly must seriously consider this bill that could help prevent domestic violence and the many adverse outcomes for children who witness these crimes.

    Domestic violence is a very real problem affecting all Rhode Islanders – a survivor helping to organize the June 9 event said that 4 of the 500 children are hers. This month, both she and her eight-year-old daughter were assaulted by her abuser. A neighbor called the police, and thankfully she and her daughter were safe in that instance, but she worries about the future safety and well-being of her children. That is why she is advocating for the passage of the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, a bill that would help prevent domestic violence from causing further harm to her children and so many others.

    Childhood trauma is not something a person grows out of – such adverse experiences strongly relate to a person's development and to the prevalence of health and social problems throughout one's lifespan, including chronic diseases, substance abuse, dropping out of school, employment challenges, and even early death.2

    In Rhode Island, an alarming number of children are witnessing violence in the home. In 2013, children were present for 40% of domestic violence arrests, and children also accounted for 50% of the clients who stayed in domestic violence shelters that year.3 Just last week, it was reported that a domestic violence incident took place in Providence in which children witnessed their mother being physically assaulted by her ex-boyfriend and were further hurt when he threw hot cooking oil on them. The children were rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and their conditions are unknown at this time.

    What’s worse, research shows that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to continue the cycle of violence into the next generation – either as victims or as perpetrators. The single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life is whether or not they grow up in a home where domestic violence occurs.4 Rhode Islanders must prevent that cycle from continuing; it is possible by passing the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund.

    Much has been said about Rhode Island’s focus on a healthy workforce and economy. Rhode Island’s children are its future and are integral to rebuilding the state. That is why the work to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place must continue. Rhode Island’s children must not be left to suffer the harmful effects of domestic violence behind closed doors.

    What could possibly delay moving a bill forward that could help protect Rhode Island’s children?

    The cost to their futures is too great to ignore. The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund must pass into law before the session ends.

     

    About the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund:

    The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund will establish a fund that will support emerging evidence-based programs that strive to prevent domestic violence before it starts.

    H5651 is sponsored by Representative Christopher R. Blazejewski, and its companion bill S650, is sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin.

    For more information visit www.ricadv.org

     

    1, 3 2015 Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Factbook

    2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

    4 WHO, ‘World Report on Violence and Health’, ed. By Krug, Etienne G., et al., Geneva, 2002; Baldry, A.C., ‘Bullying in Schools and Exposure to DV’, Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 27, no. 7, 2003, pp. 713-732; Fantuzzo John W. and Wanda K. Mohr, ‘Prevalence and Effects of Child Exposure to Domestic Violence’, The Future of Children – Domestic Violence and Children, vol. 9, no. 3, 1999.

     

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  • 6/4/15 - The General Assembly’s Silence and Inaction on the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund Gravely Hurt Rhode Island Children

    On June 9, advocates, survivors and community members will descend on the State House to recognize the 500 children who have been present at domestic violence arrests since H5651/S650 were heard in March.

    Domestic violence is preventable, but immediate action must be taken to move on H5651/S650 and pass the bills into law.

    [Providence – June 4, 2015] In the aftermath of two horrific domestic violence murders involving children and the realization of the 500 children present at domestic violence arrests1, it is unconscionable that there has been silence around the bills that could help prevent domestic violence and the many adverse outcomes for children who witness these crimes.

    Domestic violence is a very real problem affecting all Rhode Islanders – a survivor helping to organize the June 9 event said that 4 of the 500 children are hers. Last Saturday, both she and her eight-year-old daughter were assaulted by her abuser. A neighbor called the police, and thankfully she and her daughter were safe in that instance, but she worries about the future safety and well-being of her children. That is why she is advocating for the passage of the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, a bill that would help prevent domestic violence from causing further harm to her children and so many others.

    Childhood trauma is not something a person grows out of – such adverse experiences strongly relate to a person's development and to the prevalence of health and social problems throughout one's lifespan, including chronic diseases, substance abuse, dropping out of school, employment challenges, and even early death.2

    In Rhode Island, an alarming number of children are witnessing violence in the home. In 2013, children were present for 40% of domestic violence arrests, and children also accounted for 50% of the clients who stayed in domestic violence shelters that year3. Just yesterday, it was reported that a domestic violence incident took place in Providence in which children witnessed their mother being physically assaulted by her ex-boyfriend and were further hurt when he threw hot cooking oil on them. The children were rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and their conditions are unknown at this time.

    What’s worse, research shows that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to continue the cycle of violence into the next generation – either as victims or as perpetrators. The single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life is whether or not they grow up in a home where domestic violence occurs.4 Rhode Islanders must prevent that cycle from continuing; it is possible by passing the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund.

    Much has been said about Rhode Island’s focus on a healthy workforce and economy. Rhode Island’s children are its future and are integral to rebuilding the state. That is why the work to prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place must continue. Rhode Island’s children must not be left to suffer the harmful effects of domestic violence behind closed doors.

    What could possibly delay moving a bill forward that could help protect Rhode Island’s children?

    The bills are currently being held by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees with no discussion or thought about the children being hurt every day. The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence invites community members to stand with them as they urge legislators to vote the bills out of committee and onto the floors for a vote so that they may pass into law before the session ends.

    The health of Rhode Island and the futures of its children are counting on it.


    Event details are below.

    WHAT:
    A gathering to support the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund and recognize the 500 children (and counting) who have been present at domestic violence arrests since the bills were heard in March. Community members are invited to join advocates in urging the General Assembly to move on H5651/S650 and pass them into law. Their silence and inaction are unacceptable – both gravely hurt Rhode Island children.

    WHO:
    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, Women’s Center of Rhode Island, Women’s Resource Center, Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships (SOAR)

    WHEN:
    Tuesday, June 9, 2015 from 4 PM - 5 PM

    WHERE:
    State House (Rotunda)
    82 Smith Street
    Providence

     

    About the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund:
    The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund will establish a fund that will support emerging evidence-based programs that strive to prevent domestic violence before it starts.

    H5651 is sponsored by Representative Christopher R. Blazejewski, and its companion bill S650, is sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin.

    For more information visit www.ricadv.org

    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

    The RICADV's member 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.

     

     

    1, 3 2015 Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Factbook

    2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

    4 WHO, ‘World Report on Violence and Health’, ed. By Krug, Etienne G., et al., Geneva, 2002; Baldry, A.C., ‘Bullying in Schools and Exposure to DV’, Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 27, no. 7, 2003, pp. 713-732; Fantuzzo John W. and Wanda K. Mohr, ‘Prevalence and Effects of Child Exposure to Domestic Violence’, The Future of Children – Domestic Violence and Children, vol. 9, no. 3, 1999.

     

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  • 3/11/15 - Domestic Violence is Deadly to Rhode Island's Future

    Domestic Violence is Deadly to Rhode Island's Future

    At a hearing today for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence's 2015 top legislative priority, the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (H5651), state lawmakers will hear testimony on the high cost of domestic violence to Rhode Island businesses, cities and towns, and to every citizen and community throughout Rhode Island. The bill is sponsored by Representative Christopher R. Blazejewski, and a companion bill (S650) will be introduced this afternoon in the Senate by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin.

    Domestic violence is a serious, widespread and preventable public health problem that affects individuals, communities, the workforce, and society. It is similar to other workplace health and safety issues that gravely impact businesses, their bottom lines, and the lives of their employees.

    In order to build a bright future for Rhode Island, everyone must take action to prevent domestic violence in Rhode Island communities.

    Domestic violence does not just affect victims and abusers, but also their children, family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors and religious communities. It happens where Rhode Islanders live, play, pray and work. Rhode Island communities are close-knit, and with 1 in 3 Rhode Islanders experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes, everyone has seen the toll of personal suffering domestic violence brings. Less discussed is the deadly effect that domestic violence has to the state's economic stability and growth—reduced productivity, absenteeism and increased healthcare costs are the result of perpetration of this abuse on victims.

    Domestic violence is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $8.3 billion annually in medical costs and lost productivity. In addition, state and local budgets are highly impacted by related costs, including police calls (approximately 8,000 calls each year in Rhode Island), the prosecution and monitoring of domestic violence perpetrators, and disproportionate numbers of children who witness domestic violence requiring special education or child protective services.

    Rhode Island's recovery depends on a strong, healthy workforce. Domestic violence keeps the state's workforce from its full potential in many ways. It is the most common cause of injury for women ages 18-44 and is associated with many adverse health outcomes. Up to half of employed victims of domestic violence report that they lost their jobs due at least in part to the domestic violence, with 47% of employed victims reporting that they were specifically prevented from working by their abuser. All of these facts are connected to a healthy workforce, which is the fuel that drives a strong economy. But a workforce is made up of people, including victims of domestic violence.

    In Rhode Island many leading companies that are advancing the state's workforce and economy, such as Verizon Wireless, the Verizon Foundation, CVS Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI, Dave's Marketplace, and Alliance Security, have identified domestic violence as a critical issue and have supported initiatives to raise awareness and strengthen programs for victims. However, preventing—and ultimately ending—domestic violence will take support from businesses and the state. It is imperative that the state act today.

    All people want bright futures for their children and strive to live in in communities that are healthy and safe; where families, friends, and neighbors can reach their fullest potential. But it is sadly Rhode Island's children and teens who face the biggest costs to their futures. With 22.4 % of victims first experiencing dating violence between the ages of 11-17, and 47.1% first experiencing dating violence between 18-24, the vision of young Rhode Islanders having prosperous lives and inheriting a healthy state economy are being threatened.

    Alarming data from the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) reveals that across all public high schools in Rhode Island, teens who experience dating violence show a significantly higher incidence of other unhealthy behaviors and victimization such as alcohol and substance abuse, attempted suicide, eating disorders, sexual assault, bullying and cyberbullying. (see chart)

    Domestic violence is deadly to Rhode Island's future; the state can't afford to ignore the problem.

    Through ongoing statewide prevention programs supported by the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, Rhode Island can sustain the work needed to change the behaviors that make violence possible. By failing to focus on the prevention of domestic violence, a ripple effect of social, health, and economic consequences beyond immediate injury and beyond the individual or family unit will continue to weaken the state's infrastructure. Rhode Island's well-being and progress are in jeopardy.

    "The bill will establish a fund that will support emerging evidence-based programs that strive to prevent domestic violence before it starts. We are glad that Rhode Island's leadership is addressing the seriousness of this issue and are looking at preventing domestic violence as the solution. Domestic violence has been identified as a national priority, and as we search for ways to improve Rhode Island's own economic growth, we must include domestic violence prevention. One cannot happen without the other," said Deborah DeBare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

    The bottom line: domestic violence is preventable and stopping it before it starts can save both lives and dollars. The health of Rhode Island and the futures of its children are counting on it.

     

    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.

    About the RICADV's 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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

     

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  • 1/7/15 - The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Unveils New Leading-Edge Responsive Website Tailored to Support Victims and Engage Bystanders

    The redesigned website optimizes the user experience in a format that adapts to mobile devices and raises the visibility of statewide services for victims along with resources on how to help

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence today launched a new responsive website in its mission to extend the outreach of its member agencies that serve nearly 10,000 victims of domestic violence each year. The statewide Helpline receives an influx of calls each day, yet untold victims may not know where to turn for help. The new website adds a robust victim-focused tool that has the capacity to adjust to any electronic device accessing the site. Designed to reach diverse audiences, including the Latino community, it can support those impacted by abuse as well as advocates and others who want to help.

    "We are excited to unveil our new website to Rhode Island and to our partners in the work to end domestic violence. Its launch is a groundbreaking milestone for us and our community. Its ease of use and breadth of resources will help us better communicate with victims and share our work with supporters—both existing and those who will join our movement as a result," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.

    In launching the new website, the RICADV is raising the visibility of the numerous programs and services available to victims in Rhode Island, offering a user-friendly experience for those who need quick, easy-to-find information. For example, the site explains laws that protect victims' rights, providing contact details for those who may have experienced discrimination. Local agency services are highlighted that may be new or not widely known. A technology and privacy section outlines useful tips to help victims safely navigate the website and adjust settings on the Web, social media accounts, and their devices, such as their smartphones. Expanded content can be found in nearly every area, most critically in the "Get Help" and "How to Help" sections, the latter of which helps people know more about domestic violence and the ways they can support someone impacted by abuse.

    Visitors to the website can also view profiles of presenters from the RICADV's Training Calendars, learn about emerging areas of the work, including statewide primary prevention efforts, and find ways to take action as concerned citizens in Rhode Island by getting updates on the RICADV's legislative agenda and public awareness campaigns. A Spanish language website is also available that includes information on help and services.

    The new responsive design will meet a huge need in the community; according to the organization's Google Analytics metrics, approximately 1/3 of visitors access www.ricadv.org on mobile devices.

    "Domestic violence is still very much an epidemic, but now, more than ever, we have an increased ability to create social change through dynamic digital environments, such as those offered by responsive website technology and social media platforms. We want to hear from our visitors so that we may always be responsive to their needs and help them stay safe and know more," said Cristina Williams, Manager of Communications and Public Relations for the RICADV. The RICADV's communications team, which received a Best Practices Award from the RI Foundation in 2014, spearheaded the redesign project, with integral input and support from the organization's staff of subject matter experts and advocates.

    At the helm of the RICADV for nearly 20 years, DeBare has helped move the work forward through her commitment to quality services and by providing key support for innovative projects, sustaining the RICADV's history of progress in raising awareness around the issue of domestic violence and creating tools for community members and the media since its inception 35 years ago.

    "Our organization is a leader, both statewide and nationally, in the areas of systems change, prevention, and public education. We understand the vital role of communications in the work to end domestic violence. This website is an essential resource for victims and for each and every one of us who has the potential to be a lifeline to someone in a domestic violence situation. Ending domestic violence will take all of our collective efforts, but together we will end it," added DeBare.

    As the new website continues to roll out and evolve, the RICADV invites community members to explore the site and provide feedback on their experiences. (Comments may be sent to cristina@ricadv.org.)

    The RICADV has plans to similarly renovate other websites later this year, including that of SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), the award-winning task force of the RICADV made up of domestic violence survivors, and the RICADV's Online Guide for Journalists.

    The website is powered by Joomla! 3.3 and was developed by Alex Moore and Matthew Troiano, long-time supporters of the RICADV who went above and beyond the scope of this project.

     

    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.

    About the RICADV's 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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

     

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  • 11/18/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Homicide of Aliss Collins


    By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Judith Earle, Executive Director, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center
     

    [Providence, RI – November 18, 2015] “We are devastated by the murder of a pregnant Cranston woman, Aliss Collins, that occurred last week. On Friday, November 13, Aliss, 32, was severely beaten by Born Smith, her intimate partner, who then set fire to her apartment. Aliss was taken by emergency personnel to Rhode Island Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

    The murder of Aliss Collins is the seventh domestic violence murder to occur in Rhode Island in 2015. This senseless act of violence cut short the life of a young mother-to-be and stole the future of a loving family. A time that should have been filled with excitement and joy has now been consumed by tragedy. We extend our deepest condolences to Aliss’s family, friends, and all those who have been impacted by this heinous crime.

    We commend the Cranston and Providence police departments for recognizing this crime as domestic violence. Born Smith did not possess a prior documented history of domestic violence in Rhode Island, yet it is important to understand that domestic murder is not an isolated incident but often the final abusive act in a pattern of violent behaviors that came before.

    Domestic violence between intimate partners consists of abusive behaviors that one partner uses to exert power and control over the other, and pregnancy can be a particularly dangerous time for women. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), between 4 and 8 percent of women experience domestic violence during pregnancy. Each year, more than 324,000 pregnant women are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner (NCADV). Many life-altering changes take place when a woman is pregnant, so the abusive partner may fear losing power and control over them and react in destructive ways. Studies have shown that murder is the second most common cause of injury-related death for pregnant women in the United States (NCADV).

    During pregnancy, prenatal visits are an opportunity for women to discuss any concerns they may have about their safety with a medical provider. Intervention from health care professionals, even an action as simple as providing a referral card for domestic violence services, has been shown to reduce threats of domestic abuse, assaults, and risks for homicide.1 Medical providers should create a safe space without the woman’s partner present in order to discuss the woman's health and safety. Tools and best practices for domestic violence screening in health care settings can be found at www.healthcaresaboutipv.org.

    The murder of Aliss Collins is a tragic reminder that domestic violence is being perpetrated every day behind closed doors by abusers who seek to control their partners. No individual, family, or community is immune, and the abuse is never the victim’s fault. 

    If you are experiencing domestic violence or know someone who is experiencing abuse, call the Rhode Island statewide Helpline for 24-hour support at 800-494-8100. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately."


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    1McFarlane JM, Groff JY, O’Brien JA, Watson K. “Secondary Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nursing Research. February 2006;55(1):52-61.

  • 9/9/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Homicide of Yolanda McArdle


    By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Lori DiPersio, Executive Director, Women's Resource Center

     

    [Providence, RI – September 9, 2015] “We are deeply saddened by the domestic violence murder that occurred overnight in Portsmouth. The life of Yolanda McArdle was cut violently short when she was stabbed multiple times by her intimate partner.

    As our communities mourn this loss of life in sadness and outrage, this tragedy reminds us that domestic violence is a widespread epidemic, one that impacts all Rhode Islanders.

    The perpetrator, Raymond Ramsey, is a known repeat offender, having been arrested many times for domestic violence across more than a decade. At the time he committed this heinous act, he was out on bail, awaiting trial for a domestic violence crime he committed more than two months ago.

    In the wake of 6 domestic violence homicides and 8 lives lost as a result of domestic violence in Rhode Island in 2015, it is critical that our criminal justice system strengthens its response to domestic violence.

    Victims of domestic violence, and all Rhode Islanders, deserve courts and a criminal justice system that move swiftly to hold abusers accountable and keep victims safe. All systems must take all cases seriously – a seemingly minor case of domestic violence can rapidly escalate towards homicide. It is crucial that all those making decisions about offenders in the criminal justice system understand the warning signs of lethal domestic violence and are empowered to use that knowledge to protect victims and our communities.

    Domestic violence is preventable, yet we continue to lose the lives of Rhode Islanders to this public health crisis. In the wake of such horrific acts, people often ask, “How could this happen here?” This tragedy – the third domestic violence homicide to occur in Rhode Island in less than three weeks – tells us yet again that domestic violence does happen in Rhode Island and is taking place in every city and town, even those perceived to be “quiet” or “low crime” communities.

    Judges, prosecutors, law enforcement professionals, and others who work in criminal justice must have the information and systems support they need to determine lethality and safety risk when it comes to domestic violence. We must build systemic intolerance and community connectedness to stop domestic violence from being a threat to every Rhode Islander’s future. We cannot afford to wait. We must say NO MORE today and, together, find solutions that will create a world without domestic violence.

    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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately."


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  • 8/25/15 - 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.

    Today in Rhode Island, more than one hundred law enforcement officers, advocates, criminal justice professionals, and others who work closely on domestic violence cases gathered for a training entitled “Lethal Domestic Violence.” Led by Dr. David Adams of Emerge, the country’s first and leading abuser education program, the training focused on identifying risk factors of lethal domestic violence and considered models for a multidisciplinary, cooperative approach to keeping victims and their families safe. We are deeply saddened to know that, in the same week such efforts are being taken to strengthen our criminal justice response to this issue, we have lost two more lives to domestic violence.

    What makes this week’s events even more tragic is that we know domestic violence is preventable. When we view domestic violence solely as a criminal justice issue or a private relationship matter – rather than as the preventable public health crisis we know it to be – we fail to understand or adequately address the vast toll that domestic violence takes on all of us.

    We cannot wait for such senseless murders to take place before expressing our outrage and demanding change. Domestic violence is happening every day in every city and town in Rhode Island. It is happening to people we know and love, like Arien and Rachael.

    We cannot afford to ignore this problem. The impact of domestic violence on our state and every Rhode Islander’s future is too great. We must take a stand now, today, and work to find solutions that will build a peaceful world. Together, we must say NO MORE – before we lose yet another life, cut short by domestic violence.

    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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately."

     

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  • 8/24/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Murder-Suicide in Providence


    By Vanessa Volz, Executive Director, Sojourner House; Kristin Lyons, Executive Director, Women’s Center of Rhode Island; and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence


    [Providence, RI – August 24, 2015] "We are profoundly saddened by the loss of life in Providence reported early this morning. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all those who have been impacted by this tragedy.

    While the incident is currently under investigation, we know that a domestic violence murder occurred where the perpetrator took the life of his former partner, 32-year-old Arien Daly, before taking his own.

    It is important to realize that this crime did not happen due to the perpetrator’s momentary loss of temper or control. It was not an isolated incident but rather the final violent act in a pattern of abusive behaviors that escalated to the point of homicide.

    No words can adequately describe the impact that such a horrific act has on family members, friends, loved ones, and the community as a whole. We extend our deepest sympathies to all as they begin to mourn this loss.

    Reportedly, the relationship between the victim and perpetrator ended about six months ago. Research tells us that women are at higher risk for domestic violence homicide when they separate from their abusers. According to a 2003 national study that reviewed data from 11 U.S. cities, 55% of female intimate partner homicide victims were estranged from their partners when killed.1 In Rhode Island, 37% of the deaths resulting from domestic violence homicides between 2010-2014 were known to involve estranged intimate partners.2

    We also know that the perpetrator used a firearm to carry out this heinous crime. According to research, firearms also increase the risk of intimate partner homicide. In fact, the risk is five times greater when the perpetrator has access to firearms than in instances where there are no weapons.3 In Rhode Island, 39% of the deaths resulting from domestic violence homicides between 2010-2014 involved firearms.4

    We cannot wait for tragic reminders like this horrendous event to stir us to action. We know that domestic violence is taking place every day in every Rhode Island community, perpetrated by abusers seeking to exert power and control over their partners. It is happening to our neighbors, coworkers, relatives, and friends, regardless of race, age, gender, or neighborhood. We also know that domestic violence is preventable and that, with increased resources and community involvement, Rhode Island can stem the tide.

    We cannot ignore this problem – the impact of domestic violence on our state and on Rhode Islanders’ futures is much too great. In the wake of this tragedy, we call on all Rhode Islanders to take a stand – we must make addressing domestic violence a priority. We can’t afford to wait."

    1Janice Roehl, Ph.D.; Chris O’Sullivan, Ph.D.; Daniel Webster, ScD; Jacquelyn Campbell, Ph.D. May 2005. Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment Validation Study, Final Report. National Institute of Justice.

    2, 4RICADV Homicide Project, 2015.

    3J. C. Campbell, D; Webster, J; Koziol-McLain, C. R; et al. 2003. Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from A Multi-Site Case Control Study. American Journal of Public Health. 93(7).


    Ways to Help:

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors, we must be able to understand the dynamics of abuse, identify warning signs, and know how to intervene so that we can keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy.

    Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. If you know or suspect that someone in your life is a victim of domestic abuse, you can help that person stay safe. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help the person create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the statewide Helpline (1-800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.


    About Sojourner House:

    Sojourner House is a comprehensive domestic violence agency serving Providence and Northern Rhode Island. Sojourner House operates an Emergency Safe House, Transitional Housing Program, support groups, a summer camp for children who witness violence, teen dating violence prevention programs, and more. Sojourner House provides free services to victims of relationship violence regardless of age, gender, citizenship, or any other characteristic. For more information, please visit www.sojournerri.org.


    About Women’s Center of Rhode Island:

    Established in 1974, the Women’s Center of Rhode Island (WCRI) has continued to provide comprehensive services and hope for a better tomorrow for victims of domestic violence for over forty years. WCRI’s comprehensive programs and services include shelter, case management, life skills coaching, counseling, advocacy, referrals, and support to help clients access education, employment, health and legal services, protective orders, and safe housing. They also provide educational and community outreach programs. For more information, please visit www.womenscenterri.org.

     

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  • 5/27/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Murder of Yanira Flores

    By Vanessa Volz, Executive Director, Sojourner House, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    We are profoundly saddened by the death of Yanira Flores, mother of two and beloved member of her Woonsocket community. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who have been impacted by this horrendous crime.

    Yanira's alleged domestic violence murder at the hands of her boyfriend, Alvin Huggins, father of her two children, occurs less than three weeks after the domestic violence murder of an East Providence woman on Mother's Day. With each of these cases, the crimes were not isolated incidents but the final abusive acts in a pattern of violent behaviors perpetrated against these women by their abusers.

    We are particularly distressed to learn that Yanira's murder occurred in the presence of her two young children, ages 4 and 2. In addition to the trauma they now must cope with, having witnessed the deadly act of violence that ultimately took their mother's life, we know that, as a result of this trauma, Yanira's children may suffer a range of severe effects lasting well into adulthood – and they are not alone. In Rhode Island, an alarming number of children are witnessing violence in the home. In 2013, children were present for 40% of domestic violence arrests, and children also accounted for 50% of the clients who stayed in domestic violence shelters that year.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences), childhood exposure to abuse, neglect, and other traumatic stressors has negative impacts on people's health and well-being across the lifespan. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and neglect as well as the witnessing of violence against one's mother in the home. Childhood trauma is not something a person grows out of – such adverse experiences strongly relate to a person's development and to the prevalence of health and social problems throughout one's lifespan, including chronic diseases, substance abuse, dropping out of school, employment challenges, and even early death.

    When we view domestic violence as a criminal justice issue that only pertains to a few individuals – rather than as the preventable public health crisis we know it to be – we fail to understand or adequately address the vast toll that domestic violence takes on all of us, including family, friends, and neighbors, but particularly any children who are involved. Several studies show that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to continue the cycle of violence into the next generation – either as victims or as perpetrators. The single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life is whether or not they grow up in a home where domestic violence occurs.

    Our children are our future, but in the face of such facts and statistics, what will that future look like for them? What will it look like for Rhode Island? To break the cycle of domestic violence across generations, we must do more to protect our children, create a brighter future for our state, and prevent domestic violence from happening in the first place.

    When high profile cases like Yanira's murder occur, those suffering from abuse are finally seen, but seen much too late. Domestic violence occurs every day in every Rhode Island community – no type of person and no city or town is immune. The countless others impacted by domestic violence deserve to live their lives free from abuse. We must act now if we are to ever build that world for them, for one another, and for the generations to come.
    Resources for Children in Rhode Island:

    Children who are exposed to violence in the home are being denied their right to a safe, stable home life where they can grow and thrive. They need trusted adults to turn to for support as well as services that help them cope with their experiences and rebuild their lives.

    At Sojourner House, the Youth Advocate works solely with children who have witnessed domestic violence. The Youth Advocate offers an expressive arts group and a parenting group for shelter and transitional housing clients. Every summer, Sojourner House offers a summer camp, Camp Eureka, in partnership with Moses Brown, a free camp available to all children who have accessed the agency's services throughout the year.

    Community Care Alliance is a multi-service agency based in Woonsocket working to strengthen families, individuals, and the community. To learn how the Alliance can be a resource for children who witness domestic violence, visit their website at www.communitycareri.org.

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    Ways to Help:

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors, we must be able to understand the dynamics of abuse, identify warning signs, and know how to intervene so that we can keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy.

    Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. Reach out to anyone whom you suspect or know is being abused. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help them create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the statewide Helpline (800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.

    About Sojourner House:

    Sojourner House is a comprehensive domestic violence agency serving Providence and Northern Rhode Island. Sojourner House operates an Emergency Safe House, Transitional Housing Program, support groups, a summer camp for children who witness violence, teen dating violence prevention programs, and more. Sojourner House provides free services to victims of relationship violence regardless of age, gender, citizenship, or any other characteristic. For more information, please visit www.sojournerRI.org.

    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

    The RICADV's member 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.

  • 5/12/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Arrest of Judge Thomas Ricci

    By Judith Earle, Executive Director, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    We are deeply concerned about the charges in the domestic violence case involving Judge Thomas Ricci. According to reports, the victim is his girlfriend and showed physical evidence of strangulation. While we do not know all the facts of this developing case, we do know that the law is very clear regarding this serious domestic violence crime.

    In 2012, the Rhode Island General Assembly revised the domestic violence law by classifying the crime of strangulation as a felony. A domestic violence victim who has been strangled is 10 times more likely to be killed than one who has not1. Prior to this legislation, strangulation was treated as a misdemeanor simple assault. Thankfully today, our criminal justice system has a tool for holding all batterers accountable and helping protect victims from this potentially lethal act of violence.

    According to Rhode Island law (§ 11-5-2.3), strangulation means knowingly and intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person, with the intent to cause that person harm. Signs of strangulation can include red marks, such as those reportedly seen on Ricci's girlfriend, as well as bruising around the neck, voice changes, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.

    When these signs are present in a domestic violence situation, they are a clear indication of strangulation and should be charged as such. In Rhode Island, we have seen tragic cases of strangulation escalate to murder when the crime was formerly charged as a simple assault. That is why we must uphold the updated law and charge every crime of domestic violence strangulation as a felony. We cannot afford to put a victim's life at greater risk. Strangulation is the most lethal of domestic violence assaults, and abusers are warning their victims of their power and control over them—that their lives are literally in their hands. We urge authorities to continue the investigation into this matter.

    We would like to remind the media and public to be mindful that when victims of domestic violence report abuse or leave the abusive relationship to seek safety, it is an especially dangerous time for them. Victims whose abusers hold positions of legal authority often face unique barriers. A victim in this situation is particularly vulnerable because their abuser is well connected, knows the legal system well, and likely knows specific details about the resources available for victims, including the confidential locations of domestic violence shelters.

    Again, we strongly urge law enforcement to continue the investigation into this case and to reconsider the simple assault charge. When law enforcement investigates domestic violence incidents committed by alleged abusers in positions of legal authority, they send the message that in Rhode Island there is never any reason to excuse abuse or any batterer, while also helping to encourage other victims in similar situations to come forward and stay safe.

    1National Institute of Justice Journal Study (November 2003)

     

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    Ways to Help:

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors, we must be able to understand the dynamics of abuse, identify warning signs, and know how to intervene so that we can keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy.

    We must all make a commitment to reach out to anyone whom we suspect or know is being abused. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help them create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the statewide Helpline (1-800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.

    About the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center:

    The mission of the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center is to end the perpetration and societal tolerance of interpersonal violence, including all forms of domestic and sexual abuse, and, until that is achieved, to provide comprehensive services to victims and education in the community.


    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

    The RICADV's member 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.


    About Strangulation:

    Through strangulation, unconsciousness can occur within seconds and death within minutes, according to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, a program of the National Family Justice Center Alliance. Strangulation is also the best predictor of future homicide of domestic violence victims. Even minimal force may cause bleeding or swelling inside the neck. Delayed trauma may include bleeding and damage to the inside of the artery. As the body tries to heal, strokes and cardiac arrest are possible. Strangulation may cause pneumonitis and fluid overload in the lungs, even up to two weeks after the assault. Other neurologic signs and symptoms may include vision changes, ringing in the ears, facial or eyelid drooping, one-sided weakness, incontinence, and miscarriage. Weeks to months after an assault, a victim may have problems sleeping and experience impairment in memory and concentration. Mental health problems can include anxiety, depression, and dementia. In up to 50 percent of cases, there are no visible bruises.

  • 5/11/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Murder of Christine Santurri

    By Kristin Lyons, Executive Director, Women’s Center of Rhode Island, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    We are extremely saddened by the death of Christine Santurri, mother of three children and beloved member of her East Providence community. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who have been impacted by this heinous crime, which occurred Sunday morning in front of Christine’s eldest daughter.

    Christine’s domestic violence murder by her ex-boyfriend, Yuland Stanfield, is a tragic reminder that domestic violence is perpetrated every day in Rhode Island by abusers seeking to exert power and control over their partners. Stanfield has a lengthy history of domestic violence assaults dating back to 1992. It is important to realize that this crime was not an isolated incident but the final abusive act in a pattern of violent behaviors, all of which need to be taken seriously by law enforcement and our communities.

    Police receive more than 20 domestic violence calls every day in our state. Even with the protections that exist for victims through Rhode Island's criminal justice system, domestic violence remains an epidemic. It is taking place in every RI community and is happening to all kinds of Rhode Islanders, regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Our systems need to take victim concerns and violations of restraining orders seriously. Violations of protective orders are an indication of stalking, which is a serious and significant homicide risk factor. When such lethality factors are present in a case, it is critical that systems prioritize taking immediate action to protect victims and their families.

    No level of violence is tolerable. No abusive environment is safe. In most cases, no one expects the abuse that they may have overheard, witnessed or even experienced to escalate to the point of murder—but domestic violence homicides continue to occur in Rhode Island each year. Because domestic violence can escalate quickly, bystanders close to the situation, including community members and loved ones, must heed all warning signs. Every Rhode Islander has a part to play. Even the smallest step can save someone's life.

    The bottom line is that we must build systemic intolerance and community connectedness to stop domestic violence from being a threat to every Rhode Islander’s future. We cannot hesitate any longer. We cannot afford to lose another life to domestic violence, to watch it traumatize another child or devastate another family. People we know and love are suffering, and an alarming number of Rhode Island children are witnessing violence in the home. To break the cycle of violence, to create safe, connected communities for our families, neighbors, and the generations to come, we must at once take victim concerns seriously and also work to stop domestic violence from ever occurring in the first place.

    The safety net of crisis services – invaluable lifelines for domestic violence victims after abuse has occurred – must remain robust and accessible. Additionally, we must focus on the prevention of domestic violence if we are to ever stem the tide. We can't afford to ignore domestic violence any longer. It will take increased resources and community involvement, but together we can prevent and end domestic violence.

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    Ways to Help:

    As relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors, we must be able to understand the dynamics of abuse, identify warning signs, and know how to intervene so that we can keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy.

    Calling 911 if you suspect or witness abuse is an important step to take, but there are many other ways to help. We must all make a commitment to reach out to anyone whom we suspect or know is being abused. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Help them create a plan that will keep them safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources, such as the statewide Helpline (1-800-494-8100). Additional resources and information can be found at www.ricadv.org.


    About the Women’s Center of Rhode Island:

    Established in 1974, the Women’s Center of Rhode Island (WCRI) has continued to provide comprehensive services and hope for a better tomorrow for victims of domestic violence for over forty years.

    In their mission to end interpersonal violence, they seek to empower all they serve through culturally competent programs that provide safety, shelter, and advocacy to victims of domestic violence. The agency works collaboratively to prevent the occurrence of violence and to educate the community about the dynamics of violence.

    WCRI’s comprehensive programs and services include shelter, case management, life skills coaching, parenting, counseling, advocacy, referrals, and support to help clients access education, employment, health and legal services, protective orders, and safe housing. In addition, their hotline services are available 24 hours per day/seven days per week, and they also provide educational and community outreach programs.


    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 six domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. The organization provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

    The RICADV's member 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.

  • 2/10/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Reported Murder of Sara LaMont and Suicide of Wajih Mazloum

    Statement by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Staff

    Today, we are saddened to learn about another domestic violence murder-suicide with a Rhode Island connection. Wajih Mazloum of Barrington, RI, reportedly killed his girlfriend, Sara LaMont, of Tinton Falls, NJ. Both were students at Tulane University in New Orleans, where the murder occurred. The headline read, "Law student from Barrington dies in New Orleans in what police call murder-suicide," making it initially unclear who the victim was in this tragedy.

    Our hearts and thoughts are with both families as those who loved them try to process this senseless crime involving two young people with their futures ahead of them. The reality is that a person killed by their partner in a murder-suicide is a victim of domestic violence. New Orleans police said that, although there was no documented history of violence between the two, "any time a boyfriend kills a girlfriend, we consider that to be a domestic violence."

    There have now been 5 deaths related to domestic violence involving Rhode Islanders in the last 3 months. This most recent tragedy comes during a month designated to raise awareness about dating violence—we urge Rhode Islanders to stand with us in preventing this abuse that happens every day. We must act now.

    We all need to know that domestic violence is no "accident." Dating and domestic violence are about a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviors that may have no documented history, but usually have many warning signs such as extreme jealousy, isolating a partner from friends and family, and stalking. Murder is the ultimate act of power and control over a partner.

    Contrary to what people may think, an abusive person doesn't usually "look" that way. They may be charming, well liked, hard working, and come from "good families." If we ever wish to end dating and domestic violence, we must acknowledge that it affects us all, and that victims and abusers come from all walks of life and every community, including our own. Preventing this abuse means addressing the societal issues that make violence possible, creating environments where everyone sees domestic violence as their business, changing negative behaviors early on, and educating youth about healthy masculinity and relationships. The futures of our youth and our state are on the line—please find out how you can help at http://www.ricadv.org/en/get-involved.

    Rhode Island Domestic Violence Resources:

    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 click here or call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

    ###

  • 2/5/15 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Murder of Robin Dube and Suicide of Michael Dube

    By Judith Earle, Executive Director, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    We are deeply saddened by the death of Robin Dube and the suicide of her husband Michael Dube, who horrifically murdered his wife before taking his own life in North Providence earlier this week.

    Robin Dube reportedly had a disability and, according to neighbors, had not been outside of her home for some time. People with disabilities, including mental illness, and Deaf people are at greater risk for domestic violence than the general population. Mobility and accessibility barriers can stop them from reporting violence, seeking safety, or attempting to end their abusive relationships.

    Mobility and accessibility barriers can also result in the victim becoming isolated from their communities. Disability advocates know that the more isolated a person with a disability is, the greater their chances of being a victim of domestic violence. Abusive partners often seek to control their victims by isolating them, severing their ties to outside support and resources so that they become extremely dependent on their abusers. People with disabilities who are isolated may fear losing vital support from their primary caregiver who is also their abuser.

    To help people with disabilities stay safe, it is important to ensure that they can participate in and access their communities. The more ties they have to neighbors and friends, the less likely they are to become victims of abuse; if they are being abused, the more options they have for receiving support and ending their relationship. For all of these reasons, being connected to others can be a critical lifeline to people with disabilities who are being abused.

    The North Providence police have stated that this tragedy was an “isolated incident” that poses “no danger to the public” and “no risk to the community.” These types of statements can reinforce a false sense of security that stems from seeing domestic violence as a private matter, one that “doesn’t happen in my neighborhood.” But we know that domestic violence occurs every day in every community in Rhode Island. According to the Rhode Island Supreme Court Domestic Violence Training and Monitoring Unit, in 2012 in North Providence, 382 domestic violence calls were made to the police, 84 where children were present, and 212 domestic violence arrests were made.

    As with this case, people are often completely shocked that something so terrible could happen where they live, but 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes—these are people who live only a few houses down from us, work a few desks over, or whose children go to school with ours. They are our neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers, and they deserve to be acknowledged, for our communities to recognize that this problem affects us all. We can each do our part to help those experiencing abuse and to create a world in which our neighbors and loved ones are safe. Even the most basic steps can help.

    The Ocean State Center for Independent Living (OSCIL) provides a range of services to enhance the quality of life of Rhode Islanders with disabilities, break down barriers, increase access in the home and community, and promote integration into the community. For more information, visit www.oscil.org. Caregivers can contact OSCIL for information about available support groups. They can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for caregiving tips and resources (www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/family.html).

    NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Rhode Island provides support, advocacy, and education to all those whose lives are touched by mental illness and can be reached at 401-331-3060.

    Rhode Island Domestic Violence Resources:

    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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

    For additional resources on how to help someone in an abusive relationship, visit www.ricadv.org or call the statewide Helpline.

Releases & Statements – 2014
  • Releases

  • Statements

  • 9/12/14 - The NFL and Social Change: Let’s Continue the Conversation to End Domestic Violence

    The level of media attention and public outcry around the Ray Rice case of domestic violence is astonishing. We have not seen this level of public dialogue about domestic violence since the O.J. Simpson trial over 20 years ago. Is it just a coincidence that both cases involved the world of the National Football League and its superstar heroes?

    The current public discourse about domestic violence is complex, and there are many layers to peel back to get at the core of the issue. It is not simply about one individual’s assault on his fiancée. It is not simply about an institution’s policy to implement weak sanctions, or a decision to strengthen that policy. It is not about why it is so difficult for victims to simply leave an abusive situation. It is also not simply about the graphic evidence of a brutal assault shown in video footage. No, it is much more complex than any of these elements.

    For the first time in over two decades, people seem to be universally talking openly about domestic violence – at their dinner tables, at the water cooler, with their friends, families and coworkers. Everyone has an opinion. But it is important to take a step back and realize that this public conversation involves much more than initially meets the eye.

    It is true that the world of the NFL, and football culture in general, exalts physical dominance as a virtue. And there is growing research that domestic violence is an even more common problem among football players than it is in the general population. However, it is illogical to draw a conclusion that football is to blame for domestic violence, just as it is shortsighted to think that punishing one football player for one incident, or firing a Commissioner for neglecting to implement more severe policies sooner, will change the predominant cultural norms that perpetuate domestic violence in our society. The reality is that domestic violence exists not only in families where there are football players, but in all types of families. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence during their lifetimes, more than 12 million people in the United States per year. In Rhode Island, nearly 10,000 people sought domestic violence victim services in 2013.

    As a result, we need to focus on shifting cultural norms that accept or tolerate domestic abuse. If we don’t focus on this kind of social change, we will be back here in another 20 years, expressing outrage, yet again, over another high profile case as if it is the first time it has happened.

    We should not need to see a video to be outraged by the prevalence and severity of domestic violence. The words and experiences of survivors speak for themselves. We shouldn’t rush to point fingers as if blaming someone for this assault will solve the epidemic of domestic violence that exists in our communities. Instead, we must be catapulted to action by the events and discussions in the media over the past few weeks. To encourage men to step up, raise this issue, and have difficult conversations among other men about masculinity and violence. To acknowledge the intersections of our discourse with race and gender oppression. To create opportunities for communities to get involved, for bystanders to learn how to intervene effectively, and for institutions to reflect on and strengthen their policies around domestic violence.

    And through it all, we must never forget that today, here in Rhode Island, there are 57 victims of domestic violence in shelters because their homes are not safe. Every one of them, and the dozens more who called the Helpline looking for services this week, deserve our full effort to change society so that all of our institutions, not just the NFL, send a strong message that domestic violence will not be tolerated.

    Help is available in Rhode Island. Our six local member agencies provide a wide range of services for victims, including 24-hour hotline support and emergency shelter. Call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100 for more information. As a bystander, there are many ways to get involved. To learn more about domestic violence and how to take action to end it, visit www.ricadv.org or call us at 401-467-9940. If you see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.
     

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

  • 7/10/14 - Ladies Night at Confreda Greenhouses & Farms

    A $20 donation at the door will cover a night filled with pampering treatments, delicious samples from Confreda's Farmer's Market, and more.


    Confreda Greenhouses & Farms is hosting its annual Ladies Night Out on Thursday, July 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Guests will make a $20 donation at the door for a night filled with relaxing pampering treatments, delectable samples from the Confreda Farmer's Market and local wineries, a farm tour, and much more! All proceeds will benefit the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV).

    Connected neighborhoods help prevent domestic violence, and this event continues to bring Rhode Islanders together each year to get to know one another and support local businesses. The RICADV is very grateful to Confreda Greenhouses & Farms for contributing to the movement to end domestic violence in Rhode Island, not only by organizing this annual event but also through its commitment to safe communities and to the well-being of current and future generations, exemplified by its mission and practices.

    Come spend a summer night in great company at the beautiful Confreda Greenhouses & Farms, located at 2150 Scituate Avenue in Cranston, RI. Enter to win raffle items and sample fresh local food and wine, all while supporting the RICADV and helping to cultivate healthy communities.

    About Confreda Greenhouses & Farms:

    Confreda Greenhouses & Farms represents one of the oldest and largest commercial vegetable farms in Rhode Island. Farming since 1922, the Confreda family works to provide its customers with high quality produce and a family farm experience. Confreda Greenhouses & Farms shows its commitment to the consumer through nutrition and safety initiatives, including a no-GMO policy, and supports agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, diverse ecosystems, and blossoming communities of people. For more information, visit http://confredas.com/.

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  • 6/2/14 - RICADV to Receive RI Foundation Award for Communications

    Rhode Island Foundation to Honor Five Nonprofits with 2014 Best Practices Awards


    The Rhode Island Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence (INE) will honor five nonprofits with its 2014 Best Practice Awards at a formal ceremony June 4.

    “These organizations emerged from a highly competitive process and an impressive group of nominees. There is something valuable in each of their remarkable examples that can help every nonprofit achieve more,” said Jill Pfitzenmayer, INE’s vice president.

    Sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BSBSRI), the award program recognizes outstanding practices by Rhode Island nonprofit organizations in the areas of advocacy, communication, innovation, leadership development and collaboration.

    “BCBSRI is committed to strengthening and celebrating Rhode Islanders’ health and wellbeing, and having a robust network of leading community organizations is critical,” said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president & CEO of BCBSRI. “We can all learn from the examples of excellence set by today’s honorees, and BCSBRI is proud to help share their stories.”

    The Capital Good Fund  (CGF) won the Innovation Award for creative approaches that strongly incentivized savings while making it easier to open an affordable bank account and have a tax refund direct deposited into it.

    "Everyone, from policymakers to regulators to civic groups and nonprofits, recognizes the importance of having a checking and saving account. The problem, however, is that millions of Americans remain unbanked," says Andy Posner, CGF’s founder and executive director. "Our innovation addresses one of the key reasons for this: the inconvenience of opening an account.  Instead, community members are able to open an account at our office while filing their taxes or receiving one of our other services.  Using this model, we opened more than a dozen checking and savings accounts and empowered taxpayers to save $51,000."

    ecoRI News won the Collaboration Award for its EcoRI Earth program, which diverts waste from the state’s Central Landfill by collecting food scraps from 80 customers in the Greater Providence area and distributing them to urban farms for composting.

    "We are so pleased to be recognized for our collaborative efforts, which were key to the successful launch of ecoRI Earth. As a relatively young nonprofit, collaboration with other more established organizations has proven to be extremely valuable to the growth of our organization," said Joanna Detz, ecoRI’s executive director.

    The Providence Children’s Museum will receive the Leadership Award for increasing operational efficiencies by defining strong strategic priorities, restructuring staff and adding expertise to create a strong executive team.

    “With increased capacity and clear priorities, we are achieving major goals and have greatly enhanced our offerings and deepened our impact in the community,” said Janice O'Donnell, the Children’s Museum's executive director.

    The Providence Student Union (PSU) will receive the Advocacy Award for its public policy advocacy effort to increase the number of students who qualify for free bus service to and from school.

    "We're very honored to receive the Rhode Island Foundation's Best Practices in Advocacy award. PSU's youth leaders worked very hard to engage fellow students, build partnerships, and increase public demand for a successful change to Providence's transportation policy. Now, up to 1,800 hundred additional Providence high school students will be able to access school," said Roselin Trinidad, student leader, Providence Student Union.

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence will receive the Communications Award for the “KNOW MORE” public education campaign, which used traditional and new media strategies to target specialized populations including men, youth and the Latino community.

    “We are excited to receive this recognition; raising public awareness about domestic violence, with a focus on changing social attitudes and engaging the community is a critical part of our mission and we know that this award will help us continue this work. My staff has done a remarkable job incorporating innovative and contemporary strategies in our Communications Plan, and we know that this work is going to have a difference in making Rhode Island a better and safer community,” Deb DeBare, the Coalition’s executive director.

    Every organization will receive an unrestricted grant of $1,000 and tuition waivers for up to two board or staff members to any INE programs for one year following the award.

    Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsri.com and follow it on Twitter @BCBSRI.

    The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2013, the Foundation made grants of more than $31 million to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising, and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit www.rifoundation.org.

    Contact: Chris Barnett – 525-1732 (c)

  • 4/15/14 - Rhode Island: One Step Closer to Preventing Domestic Violence

    The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 15 on the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund that would create a critical source of funding for primary prevention programs

    Community members are invited to stand with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence in support of a violence-free world for future generations

    Domestic violence can be prevented—with increased resources and community involvement. Domestic violence advocates, survivors and others from the community will testify and voice this message during the House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for today, Tuesday, April 15. Rhode Island is one step closer to receiving the vital funding it needs to enhance the capacity and sustainability of the few prevention programs that do currently exist and to create other robust programs that will have a far-reaching impact.

    The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (H-7188) was introduced in the House by steadfast champion in the movement to end domestic violence Rep. Elaine Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket), Democratic Caucus Chair, as well as Rep. Eileen S. Naughton (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), Deputy Chairwoman; Rep. Joy Hearn (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence); Rep. Katherine Kazarian (D-Dist.63, East Providence); and Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett).

    If passed, the bill would – for the first time – create a steady stream of state funding for domestic violence prevention programs by increasing the cost of a RI marriage license to $70. These resources would help alleviate the burden on local agencies born out of the consistent, comprehensive cuts to federal and state funding, which have limited their ability to invest in prevention. A $46 marriage license cost increase would constitute less than a 0.1% increase in cost for the average wedding in RI. Rhode Island has not increased this one-time fee since 1990. It is one of the lowest in the U.S., and the majority of other states already use marriage license fees to fund essential domestic violence programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes domestic violence as a serious public health issue, one that community members must play a role in preventing. This bill proposes a simple, cost-effective way that Rhode Islanders can be a part of the solution to a problem that affects every community in the state.

    "Our goal is to prevent and end domestic violence in Rhode Island by cultivating connected, peaceful communities. This goal is not impossible, but in order to make it a reality, we need to take steps toward violence-free futures right now, and that requires an investment of our time and money. The funds generated by the passing of this bill into law would be used to stop domestic before it starts. Crisis intervention services provide invaluable lifelines to those impacted by domestic violence, and we must continue to supply them, but we must also focus on primary prevention if we wish to end domestic violence," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.

    Prevention work supports strong, healthy communities and is instrumental in decreasing the risk factors for domestic violence. Rhode Island's domestic violence advocacy community has seen the benefits of primary prevention first-hand and is helping to set the stage nationally for the development of promising programs and best practices. Nearly 10,000 Rhode Islanders sought multiple crisis services for domestic violence in 2013, and 13 lives were lost. Allocating state funds to prevention programming is not optional; it's imperative.

    Many different sectors of the Rhode Island community already support this issue. Domestic violence advocates, supporters, concerned community members and local press joined the RICADV, its six member agencies* and its task force of domestic violence survivors, SOAR - Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships, for a gathering at the State House on March 11, 2014, which both bodies of the Rhode Island General Assembly declared as NO MORE Day. Their collective presence challenged RI lawmakers to proactively confront domestic violence before yet another tragic loss of a family member, neighbor, colleague, classmate or friend. "NO MORE inaction or passivity around finding solutions to prevent domestic violence" was the message felt and heard by everyone wearing the teal symbols of the campaign.

    "We can change the attitudes and beliefs that breed violence. Emerging research shows that primary prevention programs are working to decrease violence in our communities. By addressing the root causes of domestic violence and not only its symptoms, we are moving forward, toward a Rhode Island in which our families no longer suffer and our communities are safe. Through programs such as the Primary Prevention Institute and Ten Men, male allies in the movement to end domestic violence, we are coming together to address this community health issue and create a world where domestic violence doesn't exist—our children deserve this freedom, and imparting it can be our legacy," added DeBare.

    The message is clear. Together we can PREVENT and END domestic violence. Support the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund on April 15. It's time to say NO MORE.

    The complete text of the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (H-7188) can be found on the Rhode Island General Assembly's website.

     

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  • 3/31/14 - Providing a Way Out

    Working Together to Help Domestic Violence Survivors

    "Every day, the RICADV and our member agencies hear from domestic violence victims and their loved ones who are in need. We know it is not easy to end an abusive relationship and that a person being victimized may stay for many reasons, including fear for their physical well-being as well as uncertainty around whether or not they can financially afford to do so. Too often we hear 'If only I had the money to leave' – money for a bus ticket or a rental deposit, money that's often needed to end a violent relationship.

    "Thanks to a recent change in Rhode Island's Crime Victim Compensation Program (CVCP) administered by the Office of the General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo, financial support is now available for people trying to break the cycle of abuse by leaving dangerous living situations.

    "In 2013, victim relocation costs were added to the list of approved CVCP expenses. If a person is eligible, as much as $2,500 is available to help victims get to a safe place where they can start building violence-free lives for themselves and their families. This important program extension has been implemented thanks to the dedication of General Treasurer Raimondo, Senator Donna Nesselbush of Pawtucket, Representative Anastasia Williams of Providence and other elected officials.

    "We are proud of the role that the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence played in raising awareness about this much-needed funding that will help victims relocate to stay safe. Working with the Office of the General Treasurer as well as local legislators, the RICADV advocated for this change, pushing for its passage in the General Assembly last year.

    "Early news about the program's effectiveness is positive. We are making people aware that there are resources available, and we are reaching victims who need this funding.

    'The Crime Victim Program helped me so very much,' said one domestic violence survivor about the relocation expenses made available to them. 'I am forever thankful because my mind is now at ease. I didn't have the money to move, and getting help from [the] program reinforced the idea that leaving this violent relationship was the right decision. You know, sometimes I would second-guess myself. But now I am in a new apartment and have found a sense of peace.'

    "Another domestic violence survivor and recipient of program funds shared the following about their experience: 'The program helped me when I needed it most. I called and, without delay, my application was processed. The funding helped out tremendously, taking a weight off my shoulders so that I could get back on my feet. Relocation help has been wonderful; I was lucky to quickly find a place, and the program paid my expenses promptly.'

    "With this improvement of the CVCP, we are changing lives and, quite possibly, saving them, too. While these two survivors' stories are encouraging, they by no means signal the end of our work. We must continue to spread the word about and connect victims with the resources available in Rhode Island.

    "The RICADV is dedicated to forming strategic partnerships across our state to end domestic violence and to developing new and creative ways to meet victims' needs. Please join us in raising awareness about all of the programs and services that exist in support of victims and their families. Together, we can help each other KNOW MORE about how to make our loved ones safer. Together, we can prevent and end domestic violence.

    For more information about the RICADV, visit www.ricadv.org. To reach the Crime Victim Compensation Program at the Office of the Rhode Island General Treasurer, call 401-462-7655.

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

     

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  • 3/12/14 - Community Members Stand as One During NO MORE Day

    March 11, 2014 Has Been Declared NO MORE Day by the Rhode Island General Assembly, Symbolizing This Call to Action

    Local leaders, allies, members of the community and local media joined the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV); its six members agencies (Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, Women's Center of Rhode Island, and Women's Resource Center); its task force of domestic violence survivors, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships); and Day One in sharing the message that together, Rhode Islanders can prevent and end domestic violence—a public health problem in all RI communities that everyone has the responsibility to address.

    During the RICADV's second annual NO MORE Day, it was clear that a shift has occurred in the public response to and ownership of this serious issue, which affects thousands of Rhode Islanders each year. "NO MORE inaction or passivity around finding solutions to prevent domestic violence" was the message felt and heard by everyone wearing the teal symbols of the campaign. During the event, local legislators, who had received both physical and Twitter invitations to NO MORE Day, stopped by to have conversations with attendees about the importance of domestic violence prevention. The event concluded with both bodies of the Rhode Island General Assembly declaring March 11 to be NO MORE Day.

    Upon entering their respective chambers, House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Elaine A. Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) introduced resolutions to the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, that would recognize March 11, 2014 as NO MORE Day. Both the House and Senate passed a resolution with this message:

    "Domestic violence in Rhode Island poses a major public health crisis, not only for the significant others who fall victim to these horrific acts, but also for the children who suffer through the experience; ... the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby recognizes March 11, 2014, as "NO MORE Day," a day that will be known as the nation's call to end domestic violence and sexual assault..."

    To read the full resolutions, visit the State of Rhode Island's website (House/Senate). The RICADV, its member agencies and SOAR were also recognized by both chambers for their dedication to ending domestic violence.

    Representative Coderre and Senator Goodwin are champions in the movement to end domestic violence; they are powerful allies and long-time supporters of the RICADV. Both acknowledged that, in passing these resolutions, the impact of the day would serve as a national symbol for raising awareness around an issue too often overlooked as well as a call to action for everyone in Rhode Island and throughout the country to pledge NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault. The resolutions also acknowledged that, in 2011, Rhode Island police officers responded to 7,883 domestic violence-related calls, with children present in almost 2,100 of these incidents. Many more of these heinous crimes are not reported due to various barriers, such as a victim's fear or threats from an abusive partner.

    "NO MORE Day laid the groundwork for a critical point in our movement—Rhode Island's advocacy community against domestic violence is standing strong and is calling for solutions to address this very public issue. Collectively, we are saying NO MORE to the silence, stigma and ways of thinking that allow domestic violence to persist behind closed doors. We are committed to preventing and ending domestic violence together in our mission to build a violence-free world for future generations. Our children have the right to inherit peaceful communities where the threat of domestic violence no longer exists—building that future is our responsibility and can be our legacy," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RICADV.

    NO MORE Day was a catalyst for the coming together of statewide allies in support of domestic violence prevention: "We can prevent domestic violence, but we need resources and increased community involvement," added DeBare.

    The RICADV, its member agencies, allies and survivor task force, SOAR, will continue to propel the movement forward and further engage Rhode Islanders from across the state in the prevention of domestic violence. It will take these collective efforts to see the change and progress needed; on NO MORE Day and every day, the call to action remains the same: TOGETHER WE CAN PREVENT AND END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

    To view photos from NO MORE Day 2014, view the Dropbox album here.

    Photo Captions:

    Photo 1: NO MORE Day attendees included staff, volunteers and interns from the RICADV, its six member agencies and Day One, member agency executive directors Lori DiPersio of the Women's Resource Center and Kristin Lyons (not pictured) of the Women's Center of Rhode Island, domestic violence survivors (members of the RICADV's task force SOAR), and RICADV Board President Patricia Germani. Many are pictured here with House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Elaine A. Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) after both the House and Senate passed NO MORE Day resolutions.

    Photo 2: RICADV Executive Director Deborah DeBare and House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Elaine A. Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) championed NO MORE Day to raise awareness about the need for domestic violence prevention resources.

    Photo 3: Kenia Trinidad, RICADV Office Manager & Training Coordinator, helped event attendees don their teal sashes and NO MORE pins to emphasize the collective presence of the advocacy community against domestic violence that stood together at the State House for NO MORE Day.

    Photo 4: Ashley Gingerella O'Shea (second from left), Associate Director of Communications for the Office of Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, standing with her colleagues, shares why she says NO MORE.

     

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  • 3/10/14 - Domestic Violence Advocates, Volunteers, Survivors and Members of the Public Will Stand Together at the State House for NO MORE Day on March 11 to Show that It Is Possible to Prevent Domestic Violence and Build Peaceful Communities for Future Ge

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), Its Partners and Supporters Will Gather for NO MORE Day and Ask Their Local Legislators to Say NO MORE by Committing to Domestic Violence Prevention

    WHEN:

    Tuesday, March 11
    3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    WHERE:

    RI State House
    82 Smith Street
    Providence, RI 02903

    WHAT:

    During the RICADV's second annual NO MORE Day, those in Rhode Island who are committed to standing against domestic violence will gather at the State House to make their voices heard as one with the message, "Together we can prevent domestic violence." NO MORE Day connects to the national NO MORE campaign, which aims to unite domestic violence and sexual assault organizations. The RICADV, along with its six member agencies, task force of survivors, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), its allies, supporters and legislative champions have made great strides in the movement to end domestic violence in Rhode Island. The purpose of NO MORE Day on March 11 is to let local legislators KNOW that more progress is needed to prevent domestic violence in the state.

    WHY:

    NO MORE Day is a call-to-action for legislators, public officials, community members and advocates to stand together and show that they are committed to domestic violence prevention. Future generations are relying on the Rhode Islanders of today to do the work that will create healthy communities free of violence. Children have the right to inherit a peaceful world where the threat of domestic violence no longer exists, and building this future is everyone's responsibility. On NO MORE Day, local legislators will see that their constituents are unified and committed to preventing domestic violence in Rhode Island and are asking them to say NO MORE.

    Those interested in more information can visit ricadv.org.

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  • 3/6/14 - Nationwide Survey Reveals Urgent Need for Increased Funding for Domestic Violence Service Providers Across All States, Including Rhode Island

    Nearly 66,000 Domestic Violence Victims Helped On a Single Day, But Almost 10,000 Requests for Help Go Unanswered


    Today, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released a new research report that found, in a single 24-hour period, more than 66,000 victims of domestic violence received help and support from service organizations in the United States, yet nearly 10,000 more who needed assistance could not be helped due to a lack of adequate resources.

    The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a member of the NNEDV. In Rhode Island, 284 victims received services in that 24-hour period, but 223 could not be helped because local programs here in Rhode Island didn't have sufficient resources.

    "The Census research shows that there is still a strong need for the funding of programs and services that are vital for victims of domestic violence; when they take that courageous step to leave an abusive relationship or seek services, we should be able to address their needs. We have the ability to help them obtain safety from abusive and dangerous situations, but we need resources," said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

    The report, "Domestic Violence Counts 2013: A 24-hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services," examined a random day, September 17, 2013, and collected information from 1649 domestic violence programs throughout the United States from midnight to midnight on that day. It identifies needs that were met and unmet on that day and provides a snapshot of how budget cuts are affecting the staffing and resources of these organizations.

    Key findings for Rhode Island include this 24-hour data from September 17, 2013:

    • 284 domestic violence victims and their children received services in just one day
    • 108 calls to domestic violence hotlines were answered.
    • 40 individuals were educated on domestic violence during trainings conducted by local programs.
    • 223 requests from domestic violence victims were turned down because programs did not have the resources to provide them, including requests for emergency shelter, housing, transportation, childcare and legal representation.
    • The majority of unmet requests were from victims who had chosen to flee their abusers, and were seeking safe emergency or transitional housing.

    "Every day in this country, victims of domestic violence are bravely reaching out for help, and it's essential that they have somewhere safe to go," said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the NNEDV. "We have made so much progress toward ending violence and giving survivors avenues for safety. But continued program cuts jeopardize that progress and jeopardize the lives of victims."

    When nationwide program providers were asked what most likely happens when services are not available, 60% said the most likely outcome was that victims returned to their abusers, 27% said the victims become homeless, and 11% said that victims end up living in their cars.

    The research also shows initial impacts of the new guidelines in the Affordable Care Act, which require healthcare providers to screen patients for domestic violence and refer victims to services. Data collected for this study shows that since these guidelines have been in effect, there has been an 18.5% increase in referrals received nationwide by domestic violence programs, a number that experts predict will only increase as the ACA takes full effect.

    The number of unmet needs is related to the financial resources of these programs. In 2013, 1,696 staff positions were cut due to funding reductions, an average of 1.2 staff per program. Of the staff that were cut in 2013, 70 percent were direct service positions, such as case managers, advocates, shelter staff, and child advocates.

    "We are hopeful that these results will show the extreme importance of continued funding and the need for the reduction of further budget cuts. Domestic violence is a public health issue that is devastating communities. Victims are increasingly seeking services from our member agencies (10,000 in 2013), and we cannot afford to turn them away," added DeBare.

    Download the full "Domestic Violence Counts 2013" census report at www.nnedv.org/census.

    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 six domestic violence prevention agencies in Rhode Island. The organization also provides leadership to its six member agencies, strives to create justice for victims, and raises awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

    The RICADV's member 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. And if you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

    About NNEDV: The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a 501(c)(3) social change organization, is dedicated to creating a social, political and economic environment in which domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking no longer exist. As the leading voice for domestic violence victims and their allies, NNEDV members include all 56 of the state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, including over 2,000 local programs. NNEDV has been a premiere national organization advancing the movement against domestic violence for almost 25 years, having led efforts among domestic violence advocates and survivors in urging Congress to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994. To learn more about NNEDV, please visit www.nnedv.org.

     

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  • 2/26/14 - Young People Throughout Rhode Island Participate in Tweet Chat to Talk about What Love Is (and Isn’t) During Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

    Hosted by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Tweet Chat Was Well-Attended and Revealed Winners of the Organization's #KNOWwhatloveis Instagram Contest; Cash Prizes Were Awarded to the Top Three Photo Submissions Illustrating What Healthy Love Is

    In an effort to engage youth throughout Rhode Island in a conversation about healthy relationships, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) hosted a statewide Tweet Chat yesterday, February 25, from 4-5 p.m. Discussions about healthy relationship behaviors and warning signs of unhealthy relationships equipped young people with the skills they need to identify abusive situations. Local students participated, including those from Rhode Island high schools, youth groups like Young Voices (creators of this year's Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month Public Service Announcement), and colleges, including the Johnson & Wales Gender Equity Center, who hosted the Tweet Chat for a second time. These young people, and other RICADV partners in the movement to end dating and domestic violence, took to Twitter to raise awareness about relationship abuse and define what healthy love is for their communities.

    Rhode Island youth also shared depictions of healthy love in February through the RICADV's #KNOWwhatloveis Instagram contest. The Tweet Chat served as a forum for announcing the contest winners and honorable mentions. Having asked Rhode Islanders between the ages of 12 and 24 to illustrate what healthy love is to them via Instagram photo submissions, the RICADV, its Public Awareness Working Group (PAWG; comprised of member agency representatives – see below for a list of the RICADV's six member agencies), and its task force of dating and domestic violence survivors, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), selected three winning photos out of almost 200 submissions.

    Each winning entry clearly conveyed a healthy relationship through the unique perspective of the contest participant. The first place photo and $250 grand prize winner represented the importance of exemplifying healthy love for one's family and being a healthy relationship role model for the next generation. The second place $150-winning entry, a recreation of a popular meme, conveyed that "love is caring even when you're angry," respectful even when you disagree. The third place submission and $100 winner depicted that former partners can still have a healthy relationship even if they're no longer together and that setting this example for one's family has a significant impact on children's understanding of healthy love. All three winning photos illustrate that while healthy relationships require work, take many forms, and can stem from a variety of situations, the constant between all of them is a shared respect and care for the well-being of those involved. The RICADV's Instagram Contest honorable mentions and other top photos can be viewed on the organization's website. 

    The #NOMORERI Tweet Chat and #KNOWwhatloveis Instagram Contest were part of the RICADV's ongoing digital strategy to reach youth where they spend a lot of their free time – online. Digital dating violence, including abuse perpetrated via social media platforms, is increasingly common among youth in Rhode Island. It is important to teach young people how these tools can be used in harmful ways but also how these technologies can help challenge abusive behaviors if they are used to promote healthy relationships instead.

    Throughout February, the RICADV asked young people to become active bystanders in a variety of ways, expressing the importance of getting educated about dating violence, its warning signs, and healthy relationships. Earlier in the month, the RICADV launched a new youth section of their website and also debuted a broadcast PSA created by Young Voices and made possible, in part, by RICADV sponsor Alliance Security. Using such tools, the RICADV has been able to offer information to young people living in the digital age. This year's campaign focused on outlining tangible ways they can take action to help prevent dating abuse before it starts and to safely intervene in abusive situations they see occurring.

    "It's understandable for a young person to be afraid to get involved. They may think it's none of their business, they may fear getting hurt themselves and, in many cases, they may not even know what a healthy relationship looks like in order to know abuse when they see it. It's not healthy for a partner to demand to check your phone or to check up on you constantly. These are controlling behaviors, and they're warning signs of dating violence," said Lucy Rios, Director of Prevention and Public Education for the RICADV.

    Through its digital campaign strategy, the RICADV aims to educate young Rhode Islanders of their own power to help end and prevent dating and domestic violence in Rhode Island. The community needs its young people to become active bystanders who KNOW what to do. It is the hope of the RICADV, PAWG, and SOAR that youth throughout the state will become empowered by these digital initiatives to take action within their own social circles if they see, hear or learn about abuse.

    To support dating violence prevention, individuals can text NOMORE to 80880 to give.

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  • 2/19/14 - The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hosts Instagram Contest and Tweet Chat to Promote Teen Dating Violence Prevention

    #KNOWwhatloveis Instagram Contest Closes February 20 and Offers Three Cash Prizes With a $250 Grand Prize; Tweet Chat Announcing Contest Winners Will Take Place February 25

    To raise awareness about Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) has been hosting an Instagram contest throughout February that promotes healthy relationships. Using the hashtag #KNOWwhatloveis, Rhode Island residents between the ages of 12 and 24 can post photos to the RICADV's Instagram account (@nomoreri), and help the community recognize what healthy love looks like. The contest closes on Thursday, February 20. The first place winner will receive a grand prize of $250 cash! Second and third prize are $150 and $100, respectively.

    On Tuesday, February 25, the RICADV will facilitate a Tweet Chat from 4-5 p.m., when the organization will announce its three Instagram contest winners. The goal of the Tweet Chat is to encourage young people in Rhode Island to have open, honest conversations with one another about dating violence. The RICADV will share winning Instagram photos during the Tweet Chat to help foster dialogue about healthy relationship dynamics.

    Digital dating violence, including abuse perpetrated via social media platforms, is increasingly common among Rhode Island youth. The RICADV learned about the prevalence of this type of abuse by collaborating with local teens from Young Voices, a Rhode Island-based non-profit, on a broadcast Public Service Announcement that debuted earlier this month. Because this type of dating violence is so pervasive, it is important to teach young people how these tools can be used in harmful ways but also how these technologies can help challenge abusive behaviors if they are used to promote and actualize healthy relationship behaviors instead.

    Through its digital campaign strategy, the RICADV aims to educate young Rhode Islanders of their own power and potential to help end and prevent dating and domestic violence in Rhode Island. The community needs its young people to become active bystanders – to KNOW when to speak up and when to ask for help. It is the hope of the RICADV; its campaign committee consisting of representatives from the RICADV's six local agencies
    (Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Sojourner House, the Women's Center of Rhode Island, and the Women's Resource Center); and its task force of dating and domestic violence survivors, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships), that youth throughout the state will not only participate in these digital initiatives but will also feel empowered to take action within their own social circles and communities if they see, hear or learn about abuse.

    To support dating violence prevention, individuals can text NOMORE to 80880 to give.

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  • 12/24/14 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Murder of Pamela Donahue

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


    Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Pamela Donahue during a time when celebrating with loved ones should be possible for us all. Pamela's murder by her girlfriend, Sendra J. Beauregard, is a tragic reminder that domestic violence is a widespread epidemic that knows no boundaries and affects all communities. By taking Pamela's life, she has taken something from each one of us—the peace of knowing our friends, family members, colleagues and neighbors are safe, especially from those who are closest to them.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls domestic violence a public health crisis and in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, states that that lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience intimate partner and sexual violence at rates that are the same as or higher than rates experienced by heterosexual people. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation)

    The report shows just how widespread domestic violence is—that is why we must continue to provide critical resources, particularly in areas of prevention, according to the CDC. And we need to ensure that there are programs and services to support all groups experiencing abuse.

    Domestic violence can happen to anyone. Relationships can look different, but domestic violence in a relationship will look very similar—power and control define this prevalent abuse. There are usually warning signs that can include extreme jealousy, monitoring and restricting a person's activities, threatening to harm them or those they love, and isolating them from friends and family. Knowing what to do can help someone in an abusive relationship and prevent another tragedy.

    For instance, it is important to know that there are unique challenges and barriers facing lesbian, gay and bisexual victims of violence, which include the ways a person's sexual orientation might be used as yet another tactic by an abuser to exert control over a victim.

    Here in Rhode Island, there are specialized services available for LGBTQ victims of abuse; these services are provided by one of our member agencies, Sojourner House (www.sojournerri.org | phone: 401.861.6191).

    We have urged bystanders - everyday Rhode Island citizens - to speak up and take action when they see or hear someone who may be in abusive relationship. This small step can be as simple as calling the police, checking in on the person in the suspected abusive relationship, or letting them know where to find help.

    For more information about the warning signs of abuse and for ways to help, please visit www.ricadv.org.

    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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.

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  • 6/24/14 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence-Related Murder of Timothy J. Robillard & Suicide of Robert Amado

    By Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) and Linda Impagliazzo, Executive Director, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center

    "We are grieved at the alarming loss of life in Pawtucket that was reported late yesterday evening. Our sincere condolences go out to all those affected by this terrible crime."

    "This incident reminds us that domestic violence is a community health issue, one that is not going away. People are often shocked and outraged that something so awful could happen where they live or to people they know. But we must recognize that domestic violence is pervasive and that no one is immune. One in four women and one in seven men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Domestic violence is perpetrated every day in every community in Rhode Island, and murder is often the final abusive act in a pattern of violent behaviors that came before."

    "In addition to endangering those directly involved, domestic violence can rattle our neighborhoods, jeopardize our safety and take away our sense of security. Domestic violence unravels the fabric of our communities, and we must act now to prevent such violence from occurring in the future."

    "We missed an opportunity this legislative session when the Rhode Island General Assembly failed to pass the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, a critical step toward preventing future violence and to creating a world in which our neighborhoods and loved ones are safe. In the wake of this tragedy, we call on all Rhode Islanders to take a stand – we must make addressing domestic violence a priority if we truly wish to end it in our state."

    "According to published police reports, the incident occurred due to a relationship that ended. Sadly, we know that attempting to end a violent relationship is often the most dangerous time for a person being abused, and our member agencies continue to provide services that keep domestic violence victims safe, including 24-hour hotline support and emergency shelter. Each of us can also do our own part as active bystanders to help those whom we suspect or know are witnessing abuse. Even the most basic step we take to help can save someone's life. Learn more at our website, www.ricadv.org, or call the statewide Helpline for more information."

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  • 5/12/14 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Murder of Shelina Moreino

    By Linda Impagliazzo, Executive Director, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV)

    "We are extremely saddened by the death of Shelina Moreino, mother of an eight-year-old daughter and beloved member of her Central Falls community. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who have been impacted by this heinous crime, which occurred early Sunday morning."

    "Shelina's death is a grievous reminder that domestic violence is perpetrated every day in Rhode Island behind closed doors by abusers seeking to control their partners. It is important to realize that this crime was not an isolated incident but the final abusive act in a pattern of violent behaviors."

    "Domestic violence can escalate quickly, which is why bystanders close to the situation, including community members and loved ones, must take all warning signs seriously. No level of violence is tolerable. No abusive environment is safe. In most cases, no one expects the violence that they may have overheard, witnessed or even experienced to escalate to the point of homicide, but domestic murders continue to occur in Rhode Island each year. As relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates and neighbors, we must be able to understand and identify the signs of abuse and know how to intervene so that we can keep victims safe and prevent another tragedy."

    "Calling 911 if you witness abuse taking place is an important step to take, but there are also many other ways to help. We must all make a commitment to reach out to anyone whom we suspect or know is being abused. Listen, and express your concerns without judgment. Ask the person what you can do for them, and check in consistently. Assist them in developing a plan that will help them stay safe when abuse occurs, and connect them with local resources such as the statewide Helpline (1-800-494-8100)."

    "Even with the protections that exist for victims of abuse through Rhode Island's criminal justice system, domestic violence remains an epidemic. It's taking place in every community in our state, and it's happening to all kinds of Rhode Islanders, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. Emergency services provided after abuse has occurred are invaluable lifelines for domestic violence victims and their loved ones; we must ensure that this safety net remains robust and accessible. We must also invest in the prevention of domestic violence in order to change the behaviors and environments that support it."

    "We cannot afford to lose another life to domestic violence, to watch it traumatize another child or devastate another family. People we know and love are suffering, and an alarming number of Rhode Island children are witnessing violence in the home. To break the cycle of violence, to create safe, connected communities for our families, neighbors and the generations to come, we must focus on stopping domestic violence from ever occurring in the first place. We cannot hesitate any longer. We must invest in both prevention and intervention if we wish to build a peaceful future."

    "Every Rhode Islander has a part to play. Even the smallest step can save someone's life, and the daily actions we take and choices we make can help strengthen our neighborhoods and keep each other safe. It will take increased resources and community involvement, but together we can end domestic violence."

    Rhode Island Domestic Violence Resources:

    "The Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center has been providing services to victims of domestic violence in the Blackstone Valley area for over two decades. The non-profit organization's mission is to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and to provide education and awareness on the issue of domestic violence. The Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center is a member of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Visit www.bvadvocacycenter.org for more information."

    "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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately."

    "For additional resources on how to help someone in an abusive relationship, visit www.ricadv.org or call the statewide Helpline."

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  • 1/6/14 - Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Death of Catherine Salvi

    By Vanessa Volz, Executive Director, Sojourner House, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence


    "We are very saddened today to learn of the death of Catherine Salvi, beloved daughter, mother of a two-year-old son, family member and friend to many in her Woonsocket community. Our hearts go out to all those affected at this time with hope that they find solace in one another in the aftermath of this tragedy."

    "Catherine's death is the result of a domestic violence incident that happened on December 13, 2013 and is the first domestic violence-related death of 2014 in Rhode Island. Catherine was brutally assaulted by Emmanuel Algaria, her live-in boyfriend and father of her son, according to police. She struggled to survive in the weeks after the assault but ultimately never awoke from a coma."

    "This tragedy is a stark reminder that domestic violence happens in every community and that no individual or family is immune. It is especially important for community members to understand the warning signs, even if they are not obvious and even if they are not initially physical. Early warning signs of domestic abuse can include extreme jealousy, forced isolation, blaming, controlling, and condescending language or behavior."

    "Some examples of an abusive partner include someone who:

    • Wants to know where his/her partner is all of the time and incessantly calls, emails and texts his/her partner.
    • Is excessively jealous and accuses his/her partner of having affairs.
    • Insists that his/her partner stop spending time with friends and family or on other activities.

    "For additional red flags, visit http://nnedv.org/resources/stats/gethelp/redflagsofabuse.html [National Network to End Domestic Violence]."

    "It is also important to understand that domestic violence is not one physical or isolated act of violence; it consists of a multitude of controlling behaviors that can ultimately escalate into physical violence. It is vital for each of us to know the signs of abuse so that we can prevent violence from happening before it starts. Catherine's murder illustrates that, even in families with no recorded history of abuse, domestic violence can be perpetrated every day behind closed doors by abusers who seek to control their partners. Murder is often the final act of abuse. (Learn about the power and control dynamics in abusive relationships here: http://www.ricadv.org/en/resources/other-resources/132-violence-wheel)."

    "We must come together and, through our actions, change what is considered normal or accepted behavior in relationships. Every Rhode Islander has a role to play in the prevention of domestic violence, and we are committed to helping others KNOW MORE to DO MORE. The lives of many of our loved ones are depending on it—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30 percent of women in Rhode Island and 20 percent of men have suffered domestic abuse at some point during their lifetimes, yet only a small number have sought services."

    "As we work to enhance domestic violence prevention and eradicate domestic violence in our communities, education will play a vital role in helping community members learn about the many forms of domestic abuse that exist, the warning signs, and how to help victims of domestic violence, especially those who do not seek support from agencies. As a family member, friend, colleague, or neighbor, you will usually be the first person to learn of abuse, and it is important to remember that even the smallest step can save someone's life."

    "We must take action now. Catherine's murder and the countless domestic violence incidents that happen in Rhode Island and every state each and every day are part of a public health crisis. The high statewide incidence of domestic violence assaults and people seeking services show us that domestic abuse is happening in Rhode Island—but the good news is that it is preventable through community involvement. We can create communities that are free of domestic violence by knowing what to look for and instituting support systems within our network of families, friends, colleagues and neighbors. To prevent another tragedy, we all must make a commitment to say NO MORE; together we can end domestic violence."

    Rhode Island Domestic Violence Resources: 

    “Sojourner House, located in Providence and Woonsocket, has been providing programs and services to the communities it serves for over 35 years. The agency is part of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and offers 24-hour daily support to victims of abuse, including support groups, emergency shelter, transitional housing, sexual health advocacy, emotional support, counseling, referrals to over 50 other community partners providing additional assistance, and more."

    “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. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.”

    “For additional resources on how to help someone in an abusive relationship, visit www.ricadv.org or call the statewide Helpline.”

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