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Celebrating RICADV’s 2022 legislative victories for survivors and their families


Group of RICADV and network of agencies staff, SOAR members and other supports at State House

R.I. invests in the safety of survivors and domestic violence prevention

During the 2022 Rhode Island legislative session, we celebrated critical victories to increase the safety and wellbeing of survivors of domestic violence and their children in our state.

Our legislative priority to increase funding for domestic violence advocacy services and prevention was a huge success! In addition to including $250 million in the budget for new affordable housing, the R.I. state budget includes $10.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support services for domestic violence victims and their families as well as housing opportunities for survivors and their children. Thanks to our persistent advocacy and the advocacy of survivors, advocates and community partners speaking out at the State House, we saw a significant increase in this line item in the final state budget, including an increase from $4.5 million total to $10.5 million over three fiscal years to support survivors.

With the COVID-19 pandemic layering one public health crisis over another for victims of abuse and recent substantial federal funding cuts to advocacy programs for survivors, this boost in state-level funding is sorely needed. With enhanced state investment, we can work to restore and strengthen the programs serving as a lifeline for survivors in Rhode Island. Our advocacy also led to Governor Dan McKee proposing an increase in the Deborah DeBare Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (DVPF) to assist children who witness violence and support public health primary prevention efforts. This is the first increase in this annual prevention budget item since the fund’s passage in the 2016 legislative session. We thank the General Assembly, House and Senate leadership and Gov. McKee and his staff for working with the RICADV to strengthen domestic violence prevention efforts in our communities.

 

Life-saving address confidentiality bill protects survivors and their children


Everyone deserves to feel safe at home.
Another priority goal was achieved with the passage of the domestic violence Address Confidentiality Program. When a victim can relocate to safe and affordable housing, we must do all we can to empower them to live safely and securely after fleeing abuse.

This new program will strengthen the existing voter registration confidentiality program within the R.I. Secretary of State’s office for survivors and their children. Starting in January 2023, survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, or stalking who have moved and are concerned about address safety will now be able to apply with the Secretary of State for a substitute address in the form of a P.O. box and ID number. This safe address can be used by the participant to receive first-class mail and state and legal documents, which would be forwarded to the survivor’s protected home address free of charge. For survivors who are hiding from an abuser after fleeing violence, this life-saving program will give them peace of mind their address will remain confidential.

Participants in the Address Confidentiality Program can use the P.O. box address for records with state or local government agencies, allowing them to safely vote, obtain drivers licenses/photo ID, get married and register births, all while keeping their home address safe and unlisted on these public records. Registration in the program would last up to five years, and could be extended by the participant if needed at that time. We are grateful to our legislative champions Senator Dawn Euer and Representative Gregg Amore for sponsoring this critical legislation and ensuring it passed in the same year it was first introduced.
 
For more information about the passage of this legislation, click here to read a General Assembly press release, which quotes the bill’s sponsors.
“…many victims of domestic violence…bravely told their stories while advocating for passage of the bill. It is my hope that this bill can give them, and others like them, the security and safety for themselves and their families that they deserve.”
-Rep. Amore
Thank you to all our member agencies, legislative champions, SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships) members, advocates, student volunteers and other supporters for their strong advocacy for domestic violence prevention and increased survivor safety for Rhode Islanders this year!

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