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There's Something You Should Know About Family Violence...You Are Not Alone! 

Image of scared teenager and person clinching fists.

Every year people like you are victims of family violence. In fact, over 5200 cases of family violence per year are reported to the Baltimore County Police Department. It is estimated that these reported cases are only 10 percent of the actual total. Incidents range from verbal threats to critical injuries requiring lengthy hospitalizations. In Baltimore County, approximately 30 percent of the annual homicides are the result of domestic violence.

In a family situation, abuse not only directly affects you and your partner, it indirectly affects your children who may witness the violence.

Remember, physical abuse continues when it is allowed to continue. If this is a problem for you, we want you to know . . . you are not alone. We are here to help.

This information has been prepared by the Baltimore County Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee. It answers some very important questions asked by the victims of abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is family violence?
A. Any violence which occurs in the family is considered family violence. Spouse abuse is a form of family violence which occurs between people who are married or living together or having a relationship.

Q. Is family violence a crime?
A. Yes. No one has the right to hit, kick, push, throw things at you, or threaten to harm you. Not even your spouse.

Q. I am a victim of family violence. What should I do?
A. The first thing to consider is your safety. Get to a safe place.

Q. Once I am safe, then what should I do?
A. Now that you are safe, call the police immediately. Remember, family violence is a crime!

Q. What will the police do?
A. They will respond to your call and take the necessary actions to ensure your safety. They will also provide you with information concerning what you can do to further your right to safety from violence.

Q. What are my choices?

Image of depressed teenager.
  • Legal Options
  • Safe Shelter
  • Counseling Services

Legal Options

The police officer will fill out a report. Be sure you obtain a copy of this report. It contains important information and may be needed later. Your legal options fall under two categories. We recommend that both options be pursued.

Civil Remedy

A Temporary Protection Order can be obtained from a judge. It is available to you if you are married to the abuser, related by blood, or if you live with the abuser and have a child in common. A Temporary Protection Order can provide you with:

  • A court order for the abuser to cease the abuse.
  • A court order for the abuser to be removed from the home for a specified number of days.
  • A court hearing on the case by the end of this period.
  • A court order providing custody of your minor children.
  • A recommendation by the judge for counseling or other appropriate services.

In order to obtain a Temporary Protection Order you must go to a District or Circuit Court during normal business hours. On  evenings and weekends orders can only be obtained at the District Court. The locations of the District and Circuit Courts are listed on the back of the police report you obtained earlier. Once the Temporary Protection Order has been issued, the police will make every effort to serve the Order on the respondent.

Criminal Remedy

You may pursue criminal charges whether or not you are married to the abuser. In order to do so, you must make a police report with the Police Department and then go to a Court Commissioner. The Court Commissioners are located in the District Courts listed on the back of the police report.

The Court Commissioner will act upon your request for the filing of criminal charges by issuing either a criminal summons or warrant. If a criminal summons is issued, the abuser will be required to appear in court on a specified date to answer the charges. There is no arrest. If a criminal warrant is issued, the abuser will be taken into custody by the police and a trial date will be set. The abuser may or may not remain in custody depending on the outcome of the bail hearing.

Again we urge that both the civil and criminal remedies be pursued to enhance your safety.

Safe Shelter

Safe shelter is a secure and anonymous temporary accommodation for you and your minor children. Safe shelter provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Remove yourself and your minor children from the immediate threat of violence.
  • Explore remedies for the family violence you have experienced.
  • Put into effect the remedies you have decided upon. Agencies which offer safe shelter are listed below.

Counseling Services

Counseling services are designed to assist you in dealing with the effects of violence you have experienced, exploring your options, and finding solutions for the future. Counseling is offered in a variety of forms: individual, marital, family support groups for victims, and treatment groups for batterers.

For further information, please contact one of the counseling agencies listed below.

Q. What if I'm still not sure what to do?
A. Baltimore County offers a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week, Family Violence Hotline. Trained counselors are available to answer your questions, and to assist you in dealing with your current situation. The number is 410-828-6390

Remember: Violence among family members does not have to continue. But it will continue unless someone in the family takes action to stop it. The Baltimore County Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee urges you to review the options outlined and act today.

Agencies Available to Assist

Family Crisis Center
Safe Shelter, Support Groups
Counseling for: victims, children, batterers.
Fee: Sliding scale for shelter services, based on ability to pay.
24-hour availability
410-285-7496 / 410-285-4357

Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland
Safe Shelter, Support Groups
Counseling for: victims, children, batterers.
Fee: Sliding scale, based on ability to pay.
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
410-281-1334

Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center
Safe Shelter, Support Groups
Counseling for: victims, children, batterers.
Fee: Sliding scale, based on ability to pay.
24-hour availability
410-377-8111

Baltimore County Domestic Violence Hotline
Open 24 Hours
410-828-6390

Revised January 2, 2013

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