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10/31/2019 Law signed to allow domestic violence protective orders to help more children
STATE HOUSE – Legislation approved by the General Assembly to allow domestic violence protective orders to protect more children in families was ceremonially signed into law by the governor today.

The bill (2019-S 0321A, 2019-H 5489A), sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and House Deputy Majority Whip Christopher R. Blazejewski, will allow domestic violence protective orders sought in Family Court to include any children of the plaintiff who aren’t related to the defendant.

Such protective orders previously covered only the common children of the plaintiff and the defendant. In order to also protect children who are not related to the defendant by blood or marriage, the plaintiff had to get a separate order in District or Superior Court.

“Protective orders are needed swiftly. Victims and potential victims need protection right away, and shouldn’t have to go to two separate courts to get orders to protect their children. All the kids in a family deserve protection, and this bill recognizes that reality,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

The legislation was sought by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“This change gives Family Court the jurisdiction it needs to do its job of protecting children from abuse and violence. It recognizes that families come in many shapes, and that when it comes to protecting kids from violence, there shouldn’t be any question that all the kids in the family are included,” said Representative Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence).

Said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, “Victims of abuse shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to protect their children. When protective orders are needed, they’re needed quickly, and now there’s one less piece of red tape to slow them down. I’m proud to sign this bill today and to help ensure all children are shielded from abuse.” 

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923