Domestic Violence in Rhode Island ... The merry go round
by Dawn F.
If you think that you're a good mother and the only thing that you're guilty of is being a victim of domestic violence physical, mental, emotionally, well think again, because with the RI DCYF, the family courts will also victimize you all over again.
It only takes one allegation from the abuser, and that single allegation will turn your life upside down. This happened after dealing with domestic violence for 13 years and him promising to go to counseling for alcohol and anger management. And, wanting to keep our family together, I always believed him and took him back.
Finally in September 2012, I had enough and wouldn't take him back. Well I thought that was the end. I was wrong. He decided if he couldn't get me physically, he would get to me emotionally. He decided to go to the courts without me knowing and said that my son was in danger with me, although he had no proof. I never had a record, but his police record was 3 pages long.
Well, that's when my real nightmare began. He knew my sister was watching my child overnight because I had to work the next morning. He went to her house with the police and got my son, and I was told he had temporary custody of my son. My whole world got turned upside down. When we went to court, I begged the judge to look at his record. Nobody would listen to me, and she ordered that for now my son would remain with his father.
That devastated me to the point that I got very depressed, as my son and I were very close. I could not even get out of bed. He would call and torment me and tell me that if I took him back I could have my family back. So I agreed to meet him a week later, so I could see my son and once again he assaulted me. I went to the police, and they went and arrested him. I called DCYF and wanted my son back, but instead they placed him with his mother. I begged DCYF not to place my son with his father's mother because everyone in that house had a felony and drinking problems. But, once again DCYF would not listen. Also, I told them that his dad lived there, again they wouldn't listen. I felt "what is wrong with them."
I got paid a visit from a DCYF case worker that looked at his record and could not believe that they had placed my child with the dad to start with. This revelation gave me hope and thoughts that I was going to get him back. Then, nope, I was wrong. When I asked what I was being charged with they said i allowed him to hit me in front of my son. How can you control somebody else's actions? If you could, there wouldn't be domestic violence....
Well, I got so depressed that I lost my job. My car got repossessed. I got evicted. It was a domino effect. Then they said that I couldn't afford to take care of my son going back and forth to court. So it just kept feeling hopeless. Nobody, not even my court appointed lawyer was helping. I finally got him back after fighting a year later December 21, 2013, but with a fight from DCYF. They kept saying I couldn't afford to take care of him.
I found out they went to court and got a child support order against me even though my child came back into my care a week later. Now they're taking my money. When I told the case worker, he said it's not his department, but then said "well, how are you going to pay your rent." And, I said I don't know, you guys are taking my money. He just looked at me. He even went as far as to tell me that I was probably never a victim. It's been one obstacle after another with them, and I have to go back to court this month.
Instead of DCYF trying to help me, they shrug there shoulders. I've been doing everything I can and to top it off the one who started all of this, my sons father, has been arrested a few more times since this all started and still has supervised visits. How could they make me a victim of their abuse now? It's not right. We are the smallest state with the highest rate of taking children out of the home instead of trying to help them...
Something is wrong with the family court system in R.I.