Car donated to team that helps victims of domestic violence

April 08, 2001|By Pepper Ballard | Pepper Ballard,SUN STAFF

First Step Project, a domestic-abuse prevention team, has received a car - donated by a Westminster auto dealership - that will be used to take victims to Carroll County shelters or court hearings.

The car will enable Amy Jarkiewicz, First Step Project's coordinator, to use something other than her own car to transport victims of domestic abuse.

The program, which began in Westminster in 1997, recently expanded to include all of Carroll County.

First Step Project is a joint effort of the police departments in Carroll County and Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland. The team makes follow-up visits to victims of domestic abuse 24 to 48 hours after a reported incident.

Jarkiewicz, a former Baltimore County Domestic Abuse Unit officer, said she receives a steady flow of calls each day from victims who need transportation. The team needed a car designated for that purpose, she said.

During its investigations, the team might take pictures of injuries and the scene, and assess options for victims, including helping them file for protective orders, bringing criminal charges or taking victims and family members reliant on them to a shelter.

Jarkiewicz said she could not reveal the make or model of the donated car because of privacy concerns for the victims. The car was donated by Heritage of Westminster.

She said the dealership was the first one she called to ask for a donation. She began her quest for a car in the summer of last year and in February was notified that Heritage would donate a vehicle.

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