PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo, joined by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Senator Maryellen Goodwin, Representative Christopher Blazejewski, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence members and other advocates for survivors of domestic violence, today hosted a ceremonial bill signing of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. This legislation creates a domestic violence prevention fund administered by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which will fund evidence-based programs aimed at preventing domestic and dating violence.
"Violence has no place in our homes," Raimondo said. "As Treasurer, I worked to support survivors of domestic violence by administering programs like the Crime Victims Compensation Fund. It gives me great pleasure to sign this legislation that will provide more resources for Rhode Islanders who have survived domestic violence, and also increase community-based programming to prevent future violence."
The bill signing follows the passage of S2900B, sponsored by Goodwin, and H7683A, sponsored by Blazejewski.
"Domestic violence is far too common, and many of its victims are extremely reluctant to report it because it is at the hands of someone they love," Goodwin said. "We need widespread public education and prevention programs to assist victims, to stop people from becoming victims and to prevent people from becoming abusers. I'm proud of this legislation, which will be a substantial leap forward in taking the prevention of domestic violence and dating violence very seriously in Rhode Island."
"More needs to be done to prevent domestic violence, and it starts with education," Blazejewski said. "All too often, people don't recognize the signs of domestic violence, and many don't feel empowered or safe enough to take the right steps to put an end to it. With this program, Rhode Island can work much more actively and effectively through educational campaigns and other services to prevent domestic violence, help its survivors escape and heal, and empower victims and witnesses to recognize it and report it."
"I am excited and moved by this historic moment in time- the first time the State of Rhode Island has made the commitment to address domestic violence before it starts," Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Deborah DeBare said. "The Domestic Violence Prevention Fund reflects decades of survivors coming forward with their stories, countless advocates helping those impacted by abuse, and champions advocating for effective legislation. This is a huge step toward creating safer Rhode Island communities and preventing violence for future generations."