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Maryland churches seek to raise awareness of domestic violence

As followers of this blog know, a report was released a few weeks ago detailing the staggering prevalence of domestic violence and naming it the number one reason for women's injuries. Since this troubling news has been released, many Maryland churches and judges have taken steps to bring domestic abuse to light. Churches hope that their members will feel more comfortable talking to them than they would talking to law enforcement. At a meeting between local churches and judges, the two groups discussed how they could stop abuse while at the same time helping the victim.

Community outreach is a great way to raise awareness of domestic violence and provide an outlet for its victims. Yet, local churches may not have much power when it comes to protecting abuse victims. When domestic violence is involved, a delay in seeking protection can have dire consequences. These individuals should therefore immediately call the police and seek out an attorney who can help get them the protection they need.

A victim of domestic abuse can seek a Temporary Protective Order at any time. Even when protection is sought after business hours or on weekends, a judge may issue an interim protective order, which is valid for two business days during which time a Temporary Protective Order can be sought. Once a Temporary Protective Order is issued, there will be a hearing within one week to determine whether a final protection order is necessary.

If a protection order is granted, then the alleged abuser may not have contact with the one who obtained the order. This may also affect issues of child custody and visitation, both areas an attorney can help a victim figure out.

Victims of domestic violence owe it to themselves to seek help for their own and, if applicable, their children's safety. While speaking to trustworthy members of the community can be comforting, only legal protection can offer a route to ensure the dangerous person is kept away from the abuse victim.

Source: CBS Baltimore, "Local Judges, Churches Vie To Bring Domestic Violence Out Of Shadows," Mike Schuh, May 30, 2013

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