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New facility in Baltimore for victims of domestic violence

Maryland residents are welcoming a new center, which was funded by the Office for Violence Against Women. The brand new center, which is located in Baltimore, has been constructed especially to benefit the innocent children of what is frequently referred to as the silent killer: domestic violence. Now, the children of victims of domestic violence have a safe place to go to visit with their parents. The facility is especially designed to ensure the safety of all the children and parents who use it. The children are allowed to visit with their parents while being supervised by an independent observer. The center is now operational and can serve up to 28 Maryland families at one time.

Unlike many types of legal complaints, domestic violence allegations trigger a rapid legal process. In Maryland, victims of domestic abuse are entitled to an automatic temporary protective order as soon as danger becomes apparent. Individuals can obtain this type of order in Maryland at any time and any day of the week.

After the court grants a temporary order, a final hearing will generally occur within a week. In addition to determining whether to extend the temporary protective order, the judge at the hearing may also address issues involving child custody, visitation rights and all of the issues surrounding children-such as a visitation schedule and ordering temporary child support payments. The court might also address temporary spousal support payments in these types of hearings.

Although deaths from domestic violence are down by approximately 11 percent from 2006, domestic abuse is still a pervasive problem throughout Maryland. It is hoped that the creation of this center can curb some of the spikes in violence that normally occur just after the victim first separates from the abuser.

Source: cnsmaryland.org, "Visitation Center opens in Baltimore for Children of Domestic violence victims," Julie Baughman, Nov. 28, 2012

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