This year, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is supporting bills that ensure healthy development, economic security, and safety for all children who witness violence.
Click for a one-page summary of our legislative priorities.
Our Priorities for 2019:
Restraining order protection for all children
This bill would allow victims seeking a domestic abuse protective order in Family Court to include any of their minor children who are not related to the abuser by blood or marriage within the same restraining order.
Impact on victims: Children who are not related to domestic violence abusers by blood or marriage cannot be added to a victim's domestic abuse restraining order. Victims must file a separate juvenile restraining order or "J-Order" to protect their children. An abuser who violates a J-Order cannot be arrested, leaving some children vulnerable to further abuse and violence. This bill will ensure the same protection for all children regardless of how they are related to the abuser, and eliminate additional procedures and expenses that place an unfair burden on victims.
Commission to study the impact of trauma on children exposed to violence
This bill would create a commission to study how exposure to violence affects children. The commission will create recommendations to address barriers that children exposed to violence encounter. These recommendations will help ensure healthy development for children and help in ending the cycle of domestic violence.
Impact on victims: Children who witness violence have an increased risk of serious long-term health and developmental consequences; they struggle with education, PTSD, substance abuse, and are at greater risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence when they grow up.
Fair Pay Act (equal wages for equal work)
Rhode Island women are paid 84¢ for every $1.00 paid to men, and the pay gap is even worse for women of color. This bill would help close the wage gap, prevent wage discrimination based on gender, race, and other protected classes, and increase economic stability for RI families.
Impact on victims: Poverty and income inequality are root causes of domestic violence with 1 in 4 women in the U.S. having experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Economic hardship or loss of financial stability is a prominent reason victims are unable to leave an abusive relationship. No victim of domestic violence should have to choose between economic security and their own safety.
Fight for $15 (increase the minimum wage)
This bill would gradually and predictably raise the minimum wage in Rhode Island to $15 an hour by 2023, a wage that is consistent with the actual cost of living. This bill will reduce poverty in Rhode Island, improve quality of life for RI children and families, and reduce barriers to leaving an abusive relationship.
Impact on victims: Lack of financial stability can be a significant obstacle for victims of domestic violence leaving an abusive relationship. Raising the minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage would benefit thousands of low-wage workers, many of whom are survivors of domestic violence with children.
2019 Legislative Advocacy Events
The RICADV will host a Legislative Advocacy Workshop 101 event at the RI State House on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., where participants will learn about legislation that impacts survivors of domestic violence, basic legislative advocacy skills, and tips for testifying in legislative hearings. Register here.
Please RSVP for our annual Community Advocacy Day at the RI State House on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. where you’ll hear from RICADV staff about our 2019 legislative priorities, learn how the legislative process works, and have the chance to speak to your local representatives about the bills that matter to you! View and print our Community Advocacy Day flyer.
As we continue our work towards social justice, it has never been more important to become actively engaged in our democracy and to collectively raise our voices for justice and equity.