Officers, center team up against domestic abuse

October 22, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

In what is being described as the state's first partnership between a private and public agency to curb domestic violence, Harford County law officials and an abuse resource center yesterday formally unveiled a domestic violence intervention team.

The team, made up of two officers from the Harford County Sheriff's Office and a legal advocate from the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center Inc. (SARC), provides investigative, counseling and legal assistance to victims of domestic abuse.

Harford County Sheriff Joseph P. Meadows said the unit, in place since last month, is needed to deal with the county's rising domestic abuse rate.

"We responded to 1,972 calls for domestic violence last year, and already there have been 1,704 incidents in the first nine months of this year," said Meadows.

He said that more than half of last year's calls were concentrated in the Edgewood and Joppa areas.

Team members will receive copies of police reports and all 911 calls involving domestic violence and will contact victims to offer their services.

Patsy White Shifrin, a domestic violence specialist with SARC, said she will help victims explore ways they can escape the abuse while the sheriffs investigate.

"I let them know that SARC is there to offer them assistance in any way they need it, be it shelter, counseling or advice on how to obtain a divorce," Shifrin said.

Also last month, SARC opened Harford County's first shelter for victims of domestic violence and rape. The shelter is in Bel Air.

Pub Date: 10/22/96

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