What You Can Do If You are a Victim of Domestic Violence in Rhode Island

20 October 2014
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When a marriage or dating relationship turns sour, communication is often strained, and sometimes instances of assault and violence can erupt. In the United States, domestic violence often intertwines with divorce, and its victims are sometimes unaware of their rights and remedies.

High profile cases involving celebrities show the same pattern of abuse and violence among ordinary citizens. In Rhode Island, domestic violence is considered a serious crime and state law provides maximum protection for its victims.

What is domestic violence?

The Rhode Island Domestic Violence Act defines domestic violence as crimes committed by one family member or household member against another. It includes, but is not limited to, certain crimes such as:

  • Vandalism
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Simple felony
  • Felony assaults
  • Trespass
  • Child-snatching
  • Sexual assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Homicide
  • Stalking
  • Violations of a protective order or a no contact order
  • Burglary
  • Arson
  • Cyberstalking and cyber harassment
  • Domestic assault by strangulation

Who are family members?

For purposes of domestic violence charges, family members include spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, those who reside in the same home, or who are in a substantive dating or engaged relationship within the past year.

If your attacker is one of those identified by the law as a family member (i.e. spouse or former spouse, or person who you are related to by blood or marriage) you may ask the family court to issue certain orders:

  • Restraining your attacker from abusing you or your minor child
  • Awarding exclusive use of your home
  • Awarding custody of your minor children

Your situation may result in three or more intertwined cases: a divorce, application for protection against abuse, and/or a criminal case stemming from the abuse. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your Rhode Island domestic violence lawyer may apply for any of three types of restraining orders.

Engaging, experienced, and compassionate legal help is essential to your case. Rhode Island attorneys Martineau Davis & Associates have more than 76 years of combined experience in family law and domestic violence issues.

To speak to a family lawyer and discuss the details of your particular situation, we welcome your call at 401-398-8333.

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