2005 -- S 0877 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED
S E N A T E R E S O L U T I O N
CREATING A SPECIAL SENATE COMMISSION TO STUDY CHILD SAFETY IN
CUSTODY AND VISITATION
Introduced By: Senator Rhoda E. Perry
Date Introduced: March 02, 2005
WHEREAS, The Senate has shown its intent to protect victims of domestic violence and
child abuse through a series of protections enacted into law and enforced by judicial action; and
WHEREAS, The Senate has recognized that evidence of past or present domestic
violence may be probative a lack of good character and parental fitness and should be considered
in rulings on custody and visitation; and
WHEREAS, The Senate has demonstrated its commitment to prevent and deter child
abuse by requiring any person who knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected to
report this information within twenty-four (24) hours to the Department of Children, Youth and
WHEREAS, The Senate has provided for "no-fault" divorce, recognizing that this
process is the most common, least arduous and least expensive means of securing a divorce, and
that it precludes proof of domestic violence; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, That a special Senate commission be and the same is hereby created
consisting of twelve (12) members: one (1) of whom shall be a member of the Senate, to be
appointed by the Senate President; one (1) of whom shall be a member of the senate to be chosen
by the Senate Minority Leader; one (1) of whom shall be the Executive Director of the Domestic
Violence Training and Monitoring Unit, or designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Attorney
General, or designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Child Advocate, or designee; one (1) of whom
shall be the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, or
designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Chief Judge of the Rhode Island Family Court, or
designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Director of Hasbro's Children's Hospital Child Protection
Program or designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Executive Director of the Parenting Project, or
designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against
Domestic Violence, or designee; one (1) of whom shall be the Executive Director of the Sexual
Director of the Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships (SOAR), or designee.
In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory
commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a senate
resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in
lieu of a legislator; provided, that that the Senate President or the Minority Leader of the
political party which is entitled to the appointment consents to the appointment of the
member of the general public.
The purpose of said commission shall be to study matters relating to the safety of
children in shared custody or visitation cases where there is concern about domestic violence
or sexual abuse. This advisory commission shall examine the process by which the Family
Court makes decisions regarding custody and visitation, whether or not there was a marriage,
and whether or not a divorce was granted for irreconcilable differences. This special study
shall include, but not be limited to: child support, psychiatric evaluations, guardians ad litem,
and supervised visitation; shall examine best practices from other court systems; and shall
recommend priorities for legislation.
Forthwith, upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at
the call of the Senate President and organize and shall select a chairperson. Vacancies in said
commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.
The membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.
All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,
documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or
desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.
The Senate President is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters for
said commission; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the
Senate no later than April 21, 2006, and said commission shall expire on June 21, 2006.