October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Coventry Police Department has adorned its fleet of cruisers with purple ribbon decals reading "No Excuse for Abuse" to remind residents to show support for the cause.
At the start of the month, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence launched its 2012 campaign "No More" referencing the ability of abuse victims to say "No more" to any kind of intimate partner violence. With the new campaign comes a new logo, a turquoise circle symbolizing support and unity of all organizations and people who want to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
Along with the purple ribbons, the campaign consists of signs posted around town, advertisements, posters on buses and fundraisers across the state. The Coalition is also sponsoring the play "Behind Closed Doors" on Oct. 29 at Trinity Repertory Company. The production will feature 15 members of the Rhode Island SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships) group who not only perform the play, but wrote it as well. (Click here for ticket information.)
Audrey Scott, a domestic violence and law enforcement advocate who works with police departments and social service agencies in Coventry, East Greenwich and West Greenwich, explained that there are several predominant factors that contribute to domestic violence, including alcoholism, mental health issues and unemployment; a component that has become increasingly prevalent with the economy's decline in recent years.
Coventry Police officers made 172 domestic violence arrests in Coventry last year, that included domestic vandalism, disorderly conduct, simple assault, violation of no-contact orders, breaking and entering and cyber-stalking. As of Oct. 9, 2012, 101 domestic violence arrests have been made by the department this year.
Scott, who also works with the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center (EBCC), can be found at the Coventry Police headquarters Monday through Friday during business hours and generally responds to cases within 24 hours of being notified of them. She can be reached by telephone at (401) 826-8915 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are various groups and programs that victims can also utilize through the EBCC, including counseling, support groups and court advocacy, as well as shelter and transitional housing assistance. The Center also provides workplace training to businesses in order to educate employers about domestic violence scenarios and how to talk to employees about the topic. The EBCC's Crisis Hotline number is (401) 738-1700 and other contact information can be found at the Center's website: http://www.ebccenter.org/.
Scott also urged victims of domestic violence to contact the RI Victims of Crime Helpline at 1-800-494-8100.
"This is the month to bring awareness about domestic violence and to remind everyone that if they know of or see anything like that, to not hesitate to call the police," she said. "People need to know that there is help available."
One way that residents can help the cause is to donate unwanted cell phones that will be donated to domestic violence victims. Local drop-off locations include the Coventry Housing Authority, 14 Manchester Cir., Coventry Meadows, Edith St., and Coventry Crossroads Community Center, Lacolle Ln. (See the attached PDF for other nearby locations.)