Domestic Violence Resources

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or who are dating. Partner abuse and partner violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Domestic violence may be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. 

Explore Some Helpful Resources:

Safety planning can be individualized for each person. Help with this type of planning is available by calling the RI Victims of Crime Helpline at 1-800-494-8100

Abuse can be:
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Economic
Such actions (or threats of actions) may:
  • Frighten
  • Intimidate
  • Terrorize
  • Manipulate
  • Hurt
  • Humiliate
  • Blame
  • Injure, or wound someone
  • Are You Being Abused?
  • Obstacles to Leaving a Violent Relationship
  • Personalized Safety Plan

Are You Being Abused?

You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you
  • Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive
  • Attempts to isolate you from family or friends
  • Monitors where you go, who you call, and who you spend time with
  • Does not want you to work
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money
  • Punishes you by withholding affection
  • Expects you to ask permission
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
  • Humiliates you in any way

You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:

  • Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.)
  • Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked, or choked you
  • Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place
  • Scared you by driving recklessly
  • Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you
  • Forced you to leave your home
  • Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving
  • Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention
  • Hurt your children
  • Used physical force in sexual situations

You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles
  • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships
  • Wants you to dress in a sexual way
  • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
  • Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Held you down during sex
  • Demanded sex when you were sick, tired, or after beating you
  • Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involved other people in sexual activities with you
  • Ignored your feelings regarding sex

Domestic Violence: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston

Obstacles to Leaving a Violent Relationship


Many victims fear that their partners will harm them if they attempt to leave. Victims also fear not knowing what kind of future lies ahead, and some fear being alone.


Most victims are threatened by their abusive partner and fear that leaving will increase the risk of violence.

Financial Constraints

Many victims, especially those with children, are financially dependent on their partners, sometimes because their partners have not allowed them to work.

Lack of Support

Not all victims have family and friends who support their decision to leave. Some victims are so isolated by their abusive partners that they have no support system whatsoever.

Lack of Knowledge about Rights and Options

Not all victims are aware that there are community agencies that can help them get to safety and rebuild their lives.

Family Pressure

Victims are often blamed by their family for the violence occurring, and are sometimes told to make the relationship work rather than separate from their partners.

Societal Pressure

Traditional notions of men’s and women’s roles, combined with the stigma of divorce and separation, can make the decision to leave that much harder for people in abusive relationships.


Many women don’t leave their batterers because they want their children to have a father. Other women worry that they will not be able to provide for their children if they leave.


Many women feel an emotional attachment to their batterers and cling to the hope that things will get better. They may also feel like they have failed to keep the family together.

Domestic Violence: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston

Personalized Safety Plan

The Basics

  1. Safety must be your first consideration. Leave without a plan if necessary, and get to a protected place, preferably a shelter.
  2. Plan your departure, if at all possible. Keep your preparations discreet.
  3. Leave at a calm time when your partner is gone. A final confrontation will only endanger you and your children.
  4. Get a protective order. If the order is violated, call the police. 

Safety planning can be individualized for each person. Help with this type of planning is available by calling the RI Victims of Crime Helpline at 1-800-494-8100

Safety Plan/Preparing to Leave

  • Gather all important information:

ID cards
Driver's license
Medical insurance cards
Medications & prescriptions
Immunization records
Birth certificates
Marriage licenses/divorce papers
Credit & ATM cards
Bank account numbers
Social Security cards
Copy of car keys
Phone numbers & addresses of friends and family
Put aside a few clothes for yourself and your children

  • Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you
  • Find a place to store important documents, keys, and clothes. Place all of these important items in a safe place, for example in a safety deposit box, or at a trusted friend's house, so that you can get it easily when you decide to leave
  • Prepare your children for emergencies. Make sure they know how to dial 911 and are not afraid to do so
  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures
  • Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made, if possible
  • Know where you can go to get help; tell someone what is happening to you
  • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit
  • Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend's house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you
  • Contact your local battered women's shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis
  • Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college as you can

Domestic Violence: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston

Local Resources for Abused Women

Rhode Island

RI Victims of Crime Helpline

RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence
(401) 467-9940

Day One
(401) 421-4100

Providence Area
Kent County, Cranston, Johnston, Scituate and Foster
Washington County
Newport and Bristol County

Women's Resource Center
(401) 846-5263