Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of violent or dominant behaviors used by a partner to gain control of a relationship, and it goes far beyond physical injury. It is against the law for your spouse, intimate partner, ex-partner, or a family member to:
    Injure you
    Threaten you so that you fear for your physical safety
    Force or pressure you into sexual acts
    Destroy or threaten to destroy your physical property
    Enter your home against your will if you are living separately

Domestic violence is something uncomfortable to talk about, and it is a hard pattern to escape, but it also something that can be stopped. Domestic Violence is in our neighborhood. It is in our community. It can happen to anyone, but it does not have to happen to you.

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.