As part of what he said would be a strengthened effort to protect victims of domestic violence, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced yesterday that $1.8 million in federal funds have been allocated for 63 agencies and organizations in Maryland that help such victims.
The governor, speaking at a news conference in Towson, also announced the expansion of the 21-member Family Violence Council to include Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Talbot County State's Attorney Scott Patterson and Vicki Sadehvandi, executive director of Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused, in Hagerstown.
"The prevention of domestic violence and the support for the victims of these heinous crimes - improving protection, prevention, enforcement and services - are among our administration's most urgent and pressing priorities," O'Malley said. "We must do all we can to help Maryland's most vulnerable citizens."
The governor said that last year 52 people in Maryland died as a result of domestic violence, with 20,000 cases reported to police and 41,000 protective and peace orders issued by District Court judges.
O'Malley credited the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and its author, U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, for making the money available. Among the 63 Maryland organizations receiving funds are the Family Crisis Resource Center in Allegany County, the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault in Anne Arundel County, the House of Ruth Maryland Inc. in Baltimore, and Westminster's First Step project.