The mission of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is to lead domestic violence prevention through the empowerment of individuals and the community by providing advocacy, education and support services.
Founded in 1977, the WRC has a long history of providing a full range of free and confidential, direct services to survivors of domestic violence. WRC addresses the physical, mental, and social well-being of its clients through services that empower victims with compassionate, comprehensive services.
For those who have been abused and their children, the WRC's services can be life-altering, even lifesaving. Our professional, supportive staff assists victims in navigating the psychological, logistical, and legal complexities inherent in domestic violence situations.
In 2021, the WRC provided 7,486 support sessions to 1,259 clients. Our services include:
Crisis Intervention. We provide a range of emergency and crisis services for domestic violence victims and their children. Our Emergency Shelter program meets the critical needs of victims by providing shelter, food, and other basic human needs. Shelter clients are also able to meet with a counselor within 24 hours, to assess their critical mental health needs. Other crisis services include a 24-hour hotline, walk-in services, advocacy, and referrals. In 2021, our staff answered 1,748 hotline calls.
Intensive Case Management and Wrap-Around Services. Residential clients receive a myriad of supports to help them live lives free of violence. Examples of these supportive services include education and employment services, financial literacy, goal setting, and individual and family counseling. In 2021, 12 adults and 22 children spent 2,164 nights in shelter, receiving these critical supportive services.
Transitional Housing. This crucial program empowers survivors of domestic violence and their children to live independently while continuing to benefit from case management and other supportive services. Transitional housing fosters financial independence, serving as a critical bridge for survivors seeking to live free from violence. All transitional apartments are provided free to clients for up to two years. In 2021, 14 adults and 25 children spent 6,361 nights in transitional housing.
Court Advocacy. Our first interaction with domestic violence victims is often in the court system. Advocates support victims by guiding them through the completion of complicated paperwork; educating them on the inner workings of the legal system; and connecting them to a variety of community services so they can achieve desired independence. In 2021, our court advocates provided victim and prosecution support with 2,366 sessions to 536 clients.
Law Enforcement Advocacy. The Law Enforcement Advocate collaborates with law enforcement to provide improved responses to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to victims. The advocate works directly with 5 local Police Departments to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, referrals and information including but not limited to the criminal justice system. In 2021, our Law Enforcement Advocate supported 427 clients with 737 sessions.
Mental Health Counseling. Our highly skilled counselors provide both individual and group therapy for adults and children to support them through the trauma of being a victim of, or witness to, domestic violence. Many of the victims who receive these services are either not insured or are unable to access this benefit without risking their perpetrator discovering they are seeking help. Mental health counseling is a critical service in helping victims to build their emotional capacity to leave a violent relationship and to continue a life free from violence, and for their children to develop healthy intimate relationships as adults. In 2021, our counselors provided 1,530 sessions to 135 clients.
The Family Violence Option Advocacy Program (FVOAP) assists the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) clients who are victims/survivors of domestic violence. The FVOAP works with the DHS, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), RI Works (RI’s cash assistance program), and the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Through the FVOAP program, clients may be able to obtain a waiver from certain requirements of the RI Works program or Child Care Assistance Program. The FVOAP also provides victims/survivors with other kinds of assistance such as immediate crisis counseling and safety planning. In 2021, FVOAP provided 1,909 sessions to 392 clients throughout Rhode Island.
Community Outreach. Friends, family, and colleagues are often the first to know about a domestic violence situation. Our community outreach programs aim to ensure that individuals and professionals alike are aware of both the dynamics of domestic violence and the services available to victims; these informal support systems are critical to our success in being able to connect victims with the free and confidential services of the WRC.
Over the past fifteen years, the WRC has also been at the forefront of innovative prevention practice nationally. The Newport Health Equity Zone (NHEZ) constitutes the agency’s Prevention Department, linking the prevention of domestic violence to the promotion of social cohesion in the city’s North End and Broadway neighborhoods. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established that the greening of urban spaces is an intimate partner violence primary prevention strategy, driven by the correlation between a key environmental factor (using the metric of tree canopy) and the reduction of domestic violence.
The NHEZ is structured as a city-wide coalition mobilizing residents and resources of the Broadway and North End neighborhoods to make Newport a place where everyone can thrive. Geographically, the NHEZ encompasses the city's two lowest-income census tracts in the city, with the highest number of its communities of color. We envision a city where:
• structural, financial, and environmental barriers to health and well-being are eliminated;
• public policy fosters the good health of all residents; and
• residents feel empowered to control the health of their families and community.
Committed to innovative, resident-driven strategies that address health disparities, the Newport HEZ uses a racial-equity lens in all its work. Over the past five years, we have organized NHEZ residents and community partners to address environmental factors – also known as the social determinants of health – contributing to poor health in the HEZ neighborhoods.
COVID-19 has demonstrably magnified the vulnerabilities of domestic-violence victims and survivors. The financial realities of widespread unemployment have put many survivors, who have left their abusive situations and are working so hard to create financial stability, in a tenuous circumstance. With economic factors playing a significant role in why people stay or return to their abuser, these clients have needed financial assistance to keep them safe. This unprecedented period of epidemiological, economic, social, and personal stress has been a long, hard couple of years for everyone. We continue to see increased need for our services in the community.
As long as domestic violence impacts families in our community, the services of the WRC will be needed. As an organization, we strive for a time when we will not be needed because intimate partner violence has ceased. Unfortunately, the Women’s Resource Center served 1,259 individuals in 2021, indicating domestic violence continues to put the safety and long-term health of victims and their families at risk in Newport and Bristol Counties.
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Women's Resource Center
114 Touro Street
Newport, RI 02840