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Office of Civil Rights Advocate

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 $5,000 and other appropriate relief.

In 2013, the Office continued its long-standing Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Training for Law Enforcement. 239 officers and recruits received training; as follows: in-service training for approximately 49 officers from statewide police departments, 147 recruits at the Municipal Police Academy, 36 recruits at the Rhode Island State Police Academy and 7 officers at the 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.