In 2019, Rhode Island made history with legislation that removes barriers for survivors and children.
PASSED: A bill that protects children through restraining orders, regardless of their relationship to abusers
Our top priority bill passed, and was signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo! The law allows survivors to include any of their minor children in a Family Court restraining order, regardless of whether or not the children are related to an abuser by blood or marriage. Before the bill’s passage, survivors filed for separate, expensive juvenile restraining orders, known as “J-orders,” to protect all their children. Abusers who violated “J-orders” could not be arrested - leaving children vulnerable to further abuse. Thanks to this new law, survivors can eliminate additional paperwork, court dates, expenses, and stress in their efforts to seek protection.
PASSED: Continued funding for domestic violence prevention work
The Deborah DeBare Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (DVPF) dedicated to community programs aiming to prevent domestic violence in Rhode Island received level funding this session. We thank the General Assembly for continuing to invest in the future. Since its passage in 2016, the Deborah DeBare DVPF, formerly known as the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund , has awarded 14 grants to nonprofits to establish domestic violence and dating violence prevention programs within their communities. We need these initiatives to work toward ending domestic violence, which is why we’re working to increase funding for prevention during the next legislative session.
PASSED: Legislation securing reproductive rights for Rhode Islanders
Rhode Island made history with the passage of the Reproductive Privacy Act, which secures the rights established in Roe v. Wade into state law. As a member of the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, RICADV has advocated for this legislation the past several years. This bill marks enormous progress for gender equality and women’s rights.
PASSED: A resolution keeping confidential healthcare information safe from abusers
We were proud to make progress in protecting confidential healthcare information from abusers. The R.I. Senate passed an important resolution, S580 SUB A, allowing the R.I. Department of Health to create rules that protect communication of medical information when insurance companies send out billing statements, or “explanations of benefits” (EOBs). The goal of this resolution is to ensure all patients - including survivors of family violence and sexual assault - do not have private health information exposed to abusive or hostile family members (spouses, partners, or parents) through insurance statements mailed home. Now, we will work with our partners and the R.I. Department of Health to help create rules giving patients the right to choose whether or not this information is mailed, and where it is sent. We want to thank the R.I. Health and Privacy Alliance for their leadership on this issue, and we are proud to be members of the alliance.
PASSED: A bill protecting household pets in domestic abuse situations
This legislation helps survivors keep beloved family pets safe from threats and violence at the hands of an abuser by allowing survivors to include pets in restraining orders. Rhode Island joins over 30 states in allowing this protection for family pets to be included in domestic violence restraining orders.