This will be one of the last Mondays in which advocates accompany victims of domestic violence to court. The domestic violence court advocacy program is closing on Mondays because of state budget cuts. State support for victims of domestic violence has been on the decline for six years.
Rhode Island has provided victims of domestic violence with court advocates for 25 years. They help traumatized victims confront their abusers and navigate the complex court system. But a decline in state support has forced the suspension of the program on Mondays, according to Deborah DeBare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"The funding for that program had been $425,000. And over the past seven years the state has gradually eroded that funding so we only have $129,000 in that funding stream at this point."
DeBare says she’s lobbying the General Assembly for additional funds.
"You know I’m ever an optimist. I really feel that once the public is aware of the impact that these cuts are having and once legislators are aware of the impact on their constituents I’m really hoping the legislature will come through."
The Monday closure of the court advocacy program begins June 1st.