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7/14/2016 Domestic violence prevention fund legislation signed into law
STATE HOUSE – Legislation (2016-S 2900 Sub B / 2016-H 7683 Sub A) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski that creates a new fund aimed at preventing domestic and dating violence in Rhode Island was signed into law by Governor Gina M. Raimondo today at a ceremonial bill signing in the State Room of the State House.

Under the legislation, the domestic violence prevention fund is created through a direct appropriation of $300,000 in the FY 2017 state budget. It will be administered by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and it will be used to pay for evidence-based programs designed to prevent domestic and dating violence throughout Rhode Island.

“We as a state need an additional and continuing effort to eradicate the plague of domestic violence from within our borders.  I’d like to thank Deb Debare from the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Senate President Paiva Weed, Senate Whip Goodwin, Representative Blazejewski, and Governor Raimondo for their collective and determined efforts to see this legislation through to passage.  And I can commit to all those that hold this important cause dear to their hearts, the creation of the domestic violence prevention fund will not be the end of this discussion and the House will continue to fight for the improvement of the quality of life for survivors and victims of domestic violence and we will also continue to do everything in our power to ensure that one day in the future, domestic violence in Rhode Island will be an ugly memory from our past,” said Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).

“Domestic violence is all too common, and many of its victims are reluctant to report it in any way because it is at the hands of someone they love. Sadly, some don’t even recognize that they are a victim. 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 huge leap forward in taking the prevention of domestic violence and dating violence very seriously in Rhode Island,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

“I’d like to thank the survivors and advocates who have tirelessly worked to eliminate domestic violence in Rhode Island.  Thanks are also deserved for Speaker Mattiello, Senate President Paiva Weed, my cosponsor Senator Goodwin and Governor Raimondo for their support of this very important program.  Under the leadership of the Speaker, he made domestic violence prevention not only a priority this year in the budget, but more importantly, a continuing key priority for the many future budgets to come.  This fund will not only help the current survivors and victims of domestic violence, but it will also prevent so many from becoming future victims in the state,” said Representative Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence).

The legislation requires the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence to convene an advisory committee for the fund, including its own executive director, the directors of the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, and the attorney general or their designees, and representative organizations providing domestic  violence and dating violence primary prevention services in Rhode Island. The committee will be responsible for implementation of programs to prevent domestic and dating abuse and for development of criteria for awarding and distributing funds, then making recommendations to the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence about which programs to fund.

In photo: Governor Gina Raimondo signs the Domestic Violence Prevention Act in a State House ceremony on July 14, 2016.  She is joined by, from left, Rep. Chris Blazejewski, the House sponsor; Deb Debare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Speaker Nick Mattiello and Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, the Senate sponsor.  The legislation creates a fund to prevent domestic violence and the Assembly provided $300,000 in funding in this year's budget.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903