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Debate over location highlights need for domestic violence center

The recent debate over the appropriate location for a domestic violence center and the site selection of a Prince George's County, Maryland, historical landmark is a source of concern for local residents. The site is the Old Marlboro Elementary School in Upper Marlboro. At this time, the plan is to demolish the school to make way for the much-needed resource.

Several Prince George's County judges have strongly advocated for a "one-stop-shop" to handle domestic violence issues in one location. At this time a facility does not exist in the area where domestic violence victims can receive assistance and services in a single facility; they must travel to separate sites to receive different services. The process of having to go from location to location while telling and retelling painful circumstances can be incredibly difficult for victims. The domestic violence center, known as the Family Justice Center, would go a long way toward minimizing unnecessary hardship in what is already a very difficult time for victims.

Debate is fierce amongst community members as to the best course of action in determining the location of the center. Some believe the center should simply move to another location, while others feel that the school should be repurposed and redesigned to utilize the existing structure.

While the location is debatable, the need for a facility like this is not. Victims of domestic violence deserve a place that can offer the help and protection they need. It is crucial that the challenges of establishing the Family Justice Center are met and resolved without any unnecessary delay.

Source: Maryland Community News, "Residents oppose possible demolition of historic Upper Marlboro school," Erich Wagner, Nov. 17, 2011

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