RIPR News
9:21 am
Tue December 4, 2001

Program To Help Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

North Providence, RI – The Rhode Island Attorney General's office is launching a pilot program in North Providence to provide quicker support for children who witness acts of domestic violence.

"The experts tell us that the effects of witnessing violence on children are great And sometimes even greater than the effect Of the violence on the adult," said Stacey Veroni, Assistant Attorney General and chief of the domestic violence/sexual assault unit.

She said the program is designed to provide help for children suffering in school or having problems concentrating and interacting with others as a result of witnessing such incidents.

The program is designed to assess whether a child witnessed domestic violence and what services may be required. A Prosecutor from the Attorney General's Office will prosecute domestic violence Cases; usually, the attorney general's Office does not get involved in misdemeanors.

"This is any child who is in the home during A domestic violence incident," she said. "The reality is though the parent may say the Child's sleeping, the child does hear and Sometimes does see the domestic violence
incident."

Veroni says it will also require the cooperation of adults who often do not realize the children have been witnesses.

If we get the case in an expedient fashion Than in the usual process we can reach out To the adult victims and hopefully educate those adult victims as to the horrific effects this violence has on their children," she said.

The attorney general's office says children witnessed about 2,300 complaints of domestic violence in Rhode Island last year.