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Maryland Senator working for victims of domestic violence

A Maryland senator is pushing for the U.S. House to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The legislation that has been passed in the Senate would provide around $660 million during a five-year period to fund numerous programs aimed at protecting domestic violence victims.

Proponents note that if this legislation is not passed, VAWA will expire, leaving victims of domestic abuse without any of the protections. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) says the issue is one that should not fall prey to partisan politics.

Domestic violence is a very serious and pervasive problem in Maryland. There were more than 18,500 cases of domestic abuse reported in 2009. Thirty-eight fatalities were directly linked to domestic violence in 2009. And officials in Prince George's County alone predict that one in four women in their jurisdiction will be the victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. Those are shocking and disturbing statistics.

In 2010, there were 10,574 protective and peace order filings in the PG County. That represents one-fifth of the 50,363 filings in the state that year. There were 55 domestic homicides reported in the county between 2007 and 2011. That serves as a grim reminder of how domestic violence cases can end in tragedy.

Any victim of domestic violence should immediately notify law enforcement. They can also seek an order for protection. This type of order can be obtained in Maryland anytime, any day of the week.

And unlike many legal proceedings, domestic violence allegations trigger a very swift legal process. A final hearing will occur within a week of when the temporary order is granted. In addition to determining whether to extend the protective order, the judge at that hearing may also address issues involving custody, a visitation schedule, and an emergency family maintenance plan.

Source: Riverdalepark.patch.com,"Cardin seeks support for domestic violence law", Sonia Dasgupta, June 4, 2012

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