Office of Civil Rights Advocate
In 2006, the General Assembly created the Office of Civil Rights Advocate within the Office of Attorney General by enactment of 42-9.3-1 et seq. The duties and responsibilities of the Civil Rights Advocate include: training and education, reviewing complaints, conducting investigations and bringing civil actions under the statute.
To file suit, the statute requires use of force or violence, property damage or the threat thereof, which interferes with Federal or State constitutional or statutory rights. If such facts and circumstances are present, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in the name of the State on behalf of the person(s) aggrieved, seeking an injunction, monetary penalty up to $5000 and other appropriate relief.
The Office continued its long-standing Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Training for Law Enforcement. In 2012, 233 officers and recruits received training, including in-service training for approximately 126 officers from statewide police departments and 107 recruits at the Municipal Police Academy and University and College Public Safety Academy.
The Office continues working with the R.I. Commission on Prejudice & Bias to establish an education program for children in middle school and, eventually, high school. The long-range plan is to educate teachers, administrators and students on issues of hate crime and civil rights in schools. The goal is to make our schools safer and foster education, tolerance and civic responsibility.