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More domestic violence victims may seek shelter in Maryland

Maryland residents may be interested to learn that the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence a domestic violence shelter service operating in one of our neighbor states, was notified in June that it would not receive its annual funding from the state government.

Unless the funding is restored, officials say it could necessitate future domestic violence victims along the Eastern Shore to find this much-needed protection in Maryland or further to the south side shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

The nonprofit had been receiving this money every year since it opened its shelter in 1996 and used the funds to cover most of the facility's operating costs. The shelter provides many worthwhile services to Eastern Shore Virginia domestic violence victims.

It supplied 2,360 bed nights to domestic violence victims last year, including children who may have suffered or witnessed domestic abuse. It also helped 94 families last year by providing other social services in addition to a safe haven. Leaders in the county where the coalition operates say they intend to ask the state to restore the funding, but it's unclear what reception the plea will receive.

News of a great resource such as the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence losing funding is not welcome. Still, victims should know that they have legal options to help address their situation. In many cases, they can seek an order for protection which can be obtained in Maryland at anytime and on any day of the week.

Unlike many legal proceedings, domestic violence allegations are dealt with very swiftly in Maryland courts. A final hearing will occur within a week of when the temporary order is granted. In addition to determining whether to extend a temporary protective order, the judge at that hearing may also address issues involving custody if there are minor children. The judge can institute a visitation schedule and an emergency family maintenance plan at this hearing as well.

Source: Delmarvanow.com, "Domestic violence shelter may lose funding," Carol Vaughn, Aug. 2, 2012

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