What is the Court Advocacy Program?

The purpose of the Court Advocacy Program is to support and empower the victim, validate the victim's concerns, represent the victim's wishes and promote the victim's access to services. Our advocate will assist the victim in the development of a safety plan and then support the decisions made through this plan.

How does the Court Advocacy Program work?

If someone is charged by the police with committing a domestic violence crime against you, your court advocate will contact you to:

  • Explain your rights as the victim of a crime;
  • Explain the court process and what you can expect;
  • Convey your wishes to the prosecutors.

However, our court advocates are not attorneys and they cannot provide legal advice or representation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was there an arrest?

Rhode Island considers domestic violence a serious crime and has enacted mandatory arrest laws. This means that once the police find enough evidence to believe that a crime has been committed, they are required to arrest the primary aggressor.

Will I have to go to Court?

It is important for you to come to court because your input in the case is valuable, but, unless you are subpoenaed or specifically told to appear, you are not required to go to court.

Do I need an Attorney?

You are not being charged with a crime and do not need an attorney. Your court advocate can explain the court process to you and will assist you with any paperwork that you may need to fill out.

Can I drop the charges?

The state of Rhode Island is pressing the charges and it is up to the prosecutor or solicitor to go forward with the case.

What is a No Contact Order?

The No Contact Order is a condition of the defendant's bail or sentence and makes it illegal for the defendant to contact you in anyway.

How do I remove the No Contact Order?

To remove a No Contact Order you will have to go before a judge and ask for it to be vacated. Each judge requires different evidence before making a decision so it is important that you talk with your court advocate before coming to court.

What can I do if the defendant violates the No Contact Order?

You can call the police and report the violation or file a report where the violation has occurred.

What is the difference between a No Contact Order and a Restraining Order?

Often these two court terms are used interchangeably, however, No Contact Orders and Restraining Orders are different:

No Contact Orders:

  • Are issued automatically after an arrest.
  • In order to vacate (remove), the victim must ask a judge and the judge bases the decision on the evidence and history of the case.
  • Makes any type of contact (telephone calls, showing up at work, sending flowers, etc.) an arrestable offense even if the victim wants contact.
  • Does not require that the defendant vacate the household.
  • Does not grant temporary custody of the children.
  • Only protects the victim of the crime.

Restraining Orders:

  • Victim must request the order and meet certain criteria.
  • Is in full force and effect for a period up to 3 years but can be renewed.
  • The victim can vacate (remove) the order by filing a motion with the judge.
  • Makes any type of contact (telephone calls, showing up at work, sending flowers, etc.) an arrestable offense.
  • Can require that the defendant vacate the shared household.
  • Grants temporary custody and child support to the victim (plaintiff).
  • Can be written to protect children that both the victim and defendant share.

Tips on Going to Court

You may contact your court advocate before going so that the advocate can let you know what to expect and what you will need. However, here are some general tips to know ahead of time:

  • You will probably need a photo I.D.
  • Because you may be sitting in the courtroom for a long time, it's a good idea to try to find childcare for your children.
  • Finally, it is very important to dress appropriately. You may not be allowed to address the judge or go into the courtroom if you are wearing shorts, tank tops, sunglasses or a midriff.

If you have questions about the court process, please call our court advocate at 723-3057.

Helpful Resources:

Attorney General
(401) 274-4400

Restraining Order Office (Garrahy Courthouse)
(401) 458-3372

RI Legal Services
(401) 274-2652

Oficina de Inmigrantes y Refugiados
(401) 421-7833

Community Awareness and Prevention Programs

Our Community Awareness and Prevention Programs are designed to provide awareness, and prevention education on diverse topics related to domestic violence in both English and Spanish.

Community Awareness

Presentations are offered to a variety of different audiences in order to provide a basic understanding of the dynamics surrounding domestic violence and services that are available to victims.

Community Events

Information, resources and staff support are provided to health fairs and community events.

Professional Trainings

Workshops and in service presentations are provided to professionals in and outside of the workplace. Trainings are designed to meet the educational needs of diverse audiences.

School Program

Our School Program, offered to students in the Blackstone Valley area, assists in breaking the cycle of abuse while providing teens with services that will enable them to develop healthy relationships.

For more information about our Community Awareness Programs, please contact us at (401) 723-3057 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Community Support Groups

Has your partner ever:

  • Put you down or called you names
  • Pushed, slapped or hit you
  • Threatened or scared you
  • Withheld money
  • Isolated you from family and/or friends

If you are experiencing these things with your partner, you may be in an abusive relationship.

If you are interested in information about our group or would like to join, call us at (401) 723-3057 or contact us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our domestic violence support groups are offered weekly to the community and are held in a confidential location. Both English and Spanish support groups are available which are free and confidential.

Helpline

Our 24 hour helpline is provided for individuals in crisis. Our telephone calls range from seeking to escape a domestic violence situation to support and advocacy.

(401) 723-3057

Victims of Crime Helpline

Our agency, in collaboration with Day One and the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, answers the Victims of Crime Helpline. The Helpline provides telephone support as well as accompaniment to hospitals and police departments.

1-800-494-8100

You can also find more information about the HelplineRI on their website at https://www.helplineri.com/.

Free – Confidential – 24/7 support and advocacy for those impacted by crimes of violence.

We do not use Caller ID. All outgoing calls are blocked for confidentiality.

Chat Helpline: Online support from 8 AM - 9 PM

Our advocates offer the same support through our live chat services from 8 AM - 9 PM. Visit our website during that time and there will be a tab on the right hand side of your screen that will pop up when you click on it. 

Warning: Your abuser may monitor your internet use and may be able to view your computer activity. If you feel your computer isn't secure, use a computer in another location that your abuser can't access or learn how to browse privately. Click to quick escape to Google