Civil Division Offices

The Office of the Civil Rights Advocate works to promote equal rights for all Rhode Islanders and responds to complaints related to civil rights violations.

We are here to help

A key purpose of the Office is to protect the civil rights of individuals belonging to a protected class, including those who may be discriminated against on the basis of their actual or perceived race; color; national origin; ancestry; sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions); sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; disability; age; citizenship or immigration status; genetic information; or status as a person living with AIDS/HIV, or person who is homeless. Whenever any person intentionally interferes or threatens to intentionally interfere, by physical force or violence against a person, by damage or destruction of property or by trespass on property, with the exercise or enjoyment of rights secured by federal or state law, the attorney general may bring a civil action for injunctive relief in order to protect the peaceable exercise or enjoyment of the rights secured.

The Civil Rights Advocate can:

  • Investigate complaints (file a complaint)
  • Bring civil enforcement actions for injunctive relief to protect individuals who have been subjected to bias-motivated actual or threatened violence, damage or destruction of property, or trespass on property

We also play an important role in the community by:

  • Serving as a resource to local law enforcement throughout the investigation and/or prosecution of hate crimes
  • Referring you to other resources
  • Providing civil rights trainings and education

To report discrimination or other civil rights violation, please call the Civil Rights Advocate at (401) 274-4400 or file a complaint online.

While we encourage you to reach out to us, it’s important to know that the Office of the Attorney General is not the only civil rights enforcement agency in Rhode Island. If we are unable to assist you with your particular issue, we may be able to refer you to an agency that may be able to assist.

If you feel that you have been a victim of hate crime, please call your local police department.

Additional Resources

The Office of the Civil Rights Advocate is not the only governmental civil rights resource available; there are several other state and federal agencies that have broad jurisdiction to investigate possible civil rights violations:

The Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights
(401) 222-2661

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(800) 669-4000 

The U.S. Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
(800) 669-9777

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
(401) 421-3481

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
(401) 514-4609

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights       
(202) 376-8513