Domestic Violence


Domestic Violence is defined by a pattern of abusive behaviors used to establish and maintain power and control over another person. This abuse can affect intimate partners in a current or past relationship, as well as family members from different households, or those living in the same household.

The violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, place of residence or socioeconomic status. It occurs in all communities.

To support those victimized by domestic violence and/or sexual assault, the Bristol Police Department has partnered with the Women's Resource Center of Newport and Bristol County (WRCNBC) to provide free and confidential advocacy. The Law Enforcement Advocate (LEA), who is employed by the WRCNBC through grant funding, offers crisis intervention, support information and resources according to each person's individual needs.

The LEA is also available  to accompany victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to report crimes at police departments, or accompany the victim to the hospital for medical treatment related to crime.

Contact Information

If you would like to confidentially speak with the Law Enforcement Advocate, please contact:

Laurie W.
Women's Resource Center
624 Main Street
Warren, RI 02885
Direct: (401) 236-8358
WRCNBC Office: (401) 846-5263
24 Hour Hotline: (800) 494-8100


For additional information , programs and resources, including safety planning, you may also visit then Women's Resource Center of Newport and Bristol County's website at

Response Procedure

When a law enforcement officer responds to a domestic violence situation and has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed, the officer shall arrest and take into custody the alleged perpetrator of the crime.  

The alleged perpetrator will be brought before a bail commissioner or another officer of the court. A No-Contact Order (NCO) will be issued. The NCO means that the defendant may not contact you in person, by telephone, or by mail.  

On the next business day, the defendant will be arraigned before a judge. The judge will schedule a second hearing (pretrial conference), usually within a few weeks, at which the defendant may change his/her plea to guilty, not guilty, or no contest (nolo contendere).

Temporary Restraining Order

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is also available to victims of domestic violence at the Family or District Court (located at the Garrahy Complex in Providence) whether or not there has been an arrest.

A person may apply for a TRO if he/she has been a victim of physical violence or is in fear for their physical safety. If a TRO is approved, the perpetrator is served with the TRO and is not allowed to have any contact with the victim. A violation is an arrestable offence.

Some people choose to have both a NCO and a TRO because a TRO can offer added protection by giving temporary custody of children to the victim; by ordering the perpetrator to pay temporary child support; and/or by ordering the perpetrator to vacate the home, if shared with the victim.