Assembly expands domestic violence protective orders to help more children
STATE HOUSE – With a final vote in the House today, the General Assembly has approved legislation to allow domestic violence protective orders to protect more children in families. The bill will now head to the governor’s desk.
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.
Currently, such protective orders cover 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 has 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).
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903