PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than two-dozen Rhode Islanders were killed in domestic violence incidents over a four-year span, according to a recently-released report by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV).
Between 2016 and 2020, the report reveals there were 26 domestic violence homicides across 11 cities and towns.
The report indicates that 21 of the victims were killed in an intimate partner homicide incident, while the other five were either family members or roommates.
Of the 21 victims killed in intimate partner homicide incidents, the report states 15 were either a current or former intimate partner of the perpetrator and six were bystanders killed during an attack on the perpetrator’s intimate partner.
“Each of these victims were beloved members of our community before their lives were stolen by domestic abuse,” RICADV Executive Director Lucy Rios said. “Collectively, they leave behind children, siblings, parents, grandparents and many other family members and loved ones.”
Rios described the deadly link between community and domestic violence is “significant and devastating.”
“It reminds us just how dangerous abusive individuals can be, not only to those who they claim to love, but to the community as well,” Rios said.
The report reveals that 42% of the domestic violence homicides between 2016 and 2020 were committed with a firearm.
“Firearms remain the most common weapon used to kill victims in Rhode Island,” Rios said.
Rios said there are a number of domestic homicide risk factors, including previous victimization, restraining orders, criminal history, stalking, direct threats, prior assaults and the presence of a firearm.
“We can’t ignore these warning signs,” Rios said.
The report suggests the state establish a dedicated Domestic Violence Court to “promote greater victim safety, informed judicial decision making and offender accountability in critical misdemeanor domestic abuse cases.”
“Many other states and jurisdictions across the country have embraced this specialized court model,” the report states.
It also suggests the state continue to invest in domestic violence service providers, primary prevention strategies and specialized housing for survivors.
“We still have so much more work to do,” Rios said. “Any life lost to domestic violence is one too many.”