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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Domestic Violence: The silent epidemic in every community


      Ask any policeman in Howard County what type of call is the most dangerous and I will bet you that the majority will answer the domestic violence call.  The facts below show its impact on our Country:

  • More than 1.35 million people accessed domestic violence victim services in 2005.
  •  1 in 4 women report experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes.
  • Over $5.8 billion each year is spent on health-related costs of domestic violence
  • Nearly 8 million days of paid work each year is lost due to domestic violence issues-the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs.
  • 96% of domestic violence victims who are employed experience problems at work due to abuse.
  • 33% of all police time is spent responding to domestic disturbance calls.
  • 57% of cities cite domestic violence against women and children as the top cause of homelessness.
  •  84% of spouse abuse victims are women.
 Here in Howard County the Sheriff's Office has a Domestic Violence Unit which is currently comprised of fourteen individuals - one Sergeant, ten deputies, two clerks, and one advocate. The Unit is dedicated to the enforcement of laws pertaining to family and domestic violence. Before 1999, these duties were shared with the Howard County Police Department, but in July 1999 the Sheriff’s Office took on sole responsibility for the enforcement of domestic violence orders in Howard County.

October is Domestic Violence Month
        The Domestic Violence Center of Howard County (DVC) will host a Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the North Laurel Community Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road in Laurel, Maryland. Doors open at 6:45 for refreshments and registration.

      The DVC Candlelight Vigil will feature inspiration from author/survivor Kristina Gilchrist, poet 2Deep, and a performance by Ballet Mobile. Jennifer Pollitt Hill, Executive Director of the DVC and Detective Frank Moscoso of the Howard County Police Department, will also be on hand to shed light about the prevalence of domestic violence in the county and to honor those who have died because of it.

        Domestic violence is a pattern of damaging and intimidating behaviors including physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, and/or sexual assaults that individuals use against their intimate partners. Victims can be of any age, culture, education, employment, marital status, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women.

      Founded in 1978, the DVC is a private nonprofit agency that provides comprehensive services to women, men and children impacted by intimate partner violence and sexual assault in Howard County. Services include 24-hour helplines, residential assistance, counseling, an abuser intervention program, legal assistance, and free prevention education and awareness programs. All DVC services are confidential and fees are based on income.

         For more information, call the Domestic Violence Center at (410) 997-0304 or visit www.dvcenter.org.

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