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Legal Statutes: Rhode Island

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Rhode Island Statutes

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Chapter 15-15. Domestic Abuse Prevention

back to top15-15-1. Definitions

The following words as used in this chapter have the following meanings:

(1) "Courts" means the family court;

(2) "Domestic abuse" means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between present or former family members, parents, stepparents, or persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year in which at least one of the persons is a minor:

(i) Attempting to cause or causing physical harm;

(ii) Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; or

(iii) Causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat of force, or duress;

(iv) Stalking or cyberstalking.

(3) "Parents" mean persons who together are the legal parents of one or more children, regardless of their marital status or whether they have lived together at any time;

(4) "Present or former family member" means the spouse, former spouse, minor children, stepchildren, or persons who are related by blood or marriage

(5) "Substantive dating" or "engagement relationship" means a significant and personal/intimate relationship which shall be adjudged by the court's consideration by the following factors:

(i) The length of time of the relationship;

(ii) The type of relationship; and

(iii) The frequency of interaction between the parties.

(6) "Stalking" means harassing another person or willfully, maliciously and repeatedly following another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury;

(7) "Cyberstalking" means transmitting any communication by computer to any person or causing any person to be contacted for the sole purpose of harassing that person or his or her family;

(8) "Harassing" means following a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person with the intent to seriously alarm, annoy, or bother the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury;

(9) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."

 

History: P.L. 1982, ch. 389, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 375, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 539, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 315, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 167, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 259, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 6, § 27; 2006 Ch. 06-324