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Domestic violence is on the rise

Some very sobering statistics have just been released by the United States Office on Violence against Women. According to a recent report, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States, where three women die every day due to domestic abuse.

An even more disturbing trend is that 37 percent of the female victims of domestic violence experienced physical abuse during pregnancy. This shocking news was recently reported by the Maryland Health Coalition Against Domestic Violence and a report from a 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee.

It is crucial for victims of abuse, or potential victims, to immediately seek a restraining order if they fear for their safety. In the state of Maryland, domestic abuse is taken very seriously and a request for a restraining order can be filed at any time of the day or night. A temporary order will be issued immediately, and a hearing will be scheduled within one week after filing for the order. At this hearing, other issues such as child support, child custody and visitation may also be addressed to ensure that the abuser has no contact with the victim. This type of protective order is especially critical where children are involved, so that the children do not witness any more abuse, nor are subject to any more abuse. The judge will weigh all of the factors and generally issue a temporary ruling that will focus on the best interests of the children involved.

The state of Maryland has many supportive organizations to help victims of domestic abuse and the children that live in these traumatic environments. It is important to seek help if confronted with an abusive relationship, because most abusers will continue the abuse if there is no intervention.

Source: Washington Times, "Domestic violence is not only on the rise, it is pandemic," May 21, 2013

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