Title 8
Courts and Civil Procedure — Courts

Chapter 8.1
Domestic Assault

R.I. Gen. Laws 8-8.1-1

 8-8.1-1.  Definitions.

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

(1) "Cohabitants" means emancipated minors or persons eighteen (18) years of age or older, not related by blood or marriage, who together are not the legal parents of one or more children, and who have resided together within the preceding three (3) years or who are residing in the same living quarters.

(2) "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."

(3) "Courts" means the district court.

(4) "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.

(5) "Domestic abuse" means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between cohabitants or the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year; "domestic abuse" shall be determined by the court's consideration of the following factors:

(i) The length of time of the relationship;

(ii) The type of the relationship;

(iii) The frequency of the interaction between the parties;

(iv) Attempting to cause or causing physical harm;

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

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

(vii) Stalking or cyberstalking.

(6) "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.

(7) "Sole legal interest" means defendant has an ownership interest in the residence and plaintiff does not; or defendant's name is on the lease and plaintiff's is not.

(8) "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.

History of Section.
P.L. 1985, ch. 492, 2; P.L. 1988, ch. 539, 4; P.L. 1990, ch. 390, 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 313, 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 326, 172; P.L. 2001, ch. 259, 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 324, 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 652, 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 415, 12; P.L. 2021, ch. 111, 1, effective July 2, 2021; P.L. 2021, ch. 112, 1, effective July 2, 2021.