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Maryland honored by Biden for combating domestic violence

Recently, Maryland was honored in a speech by the Vice President for it's successful and innovative measures in combating domestic abuse throughout the state. The Vice President mentioned a program being utilized by law enforcement officials called the "lethality assessment program," which is used to assist law enforcement in focusing on the situations that present the highest potential for violence. By using this program, police throughout the state were able to identify and protect 25,000 high-risk victims of domestic violence and provide them with access to important services.

In fact, the program is now serving as a model for other similar programs throughout the country. In the four years between 2006 and 2010, the actual rate of crimes involving domestic violence actually dropped by 18.4 percent in the state of Maryland, which is a significant reduction during such a short period. Due to the success of these efforts, the U.S. Justice Department will now award $2.3 million to 12 cities and counties around the country to support new programs such as the "lethality assessment program". In his speech, the Vice President also emphasized the need to reauthorize the Violence against Women Act, which he originally introduced to Congress when he served as a U.S. senator.

If someone is the victim of domestic violence, it is possible to seek a restraining order from the court at any time. Upon receiving a petition for a temporary restraining order, the court will typically enter an order immediately if the situation merits it. It will then schedule a hearing for the presentation of evidence in support of extending the order indefinitely.

At the hearing, in addition to determining whether an order of protection is warranted, the court may also determine other pressing issues concerning the parties, such as temporary child support, child custody, visitation rights, and temporary spousal support.

Source: Capital News Service, "Vice President Joe Biden extols Maryland as Domestic Violence Prevention Model", Jeremy Barr, March 14, 2013

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