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Leggett and Katz Kick Off Domestic Violence Awareness Month

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 9, 2017

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and today, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and County Councilmember Sidney Katz announced a Countywide campaign to raise public awareness. Domestic violence includes physical, emotional and financial abuse and affects people of all age, gender, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The outreach campaign includes ads posted on Ride On buses and bus shelters, social media, and other communications throughout the month of October.


Leggett and Katz were joined at the kickoff event by Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, Sheriff Darren M. Popkin, Debbie Feinstein, chief of the Special Victims for the State's Attorney's Office and chair of the Education and Outreach Committee for the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC), Cheryl Kravitz, a survivor and member of the DVCC, and representatives of the Family Justice Center, the Abused Persons Program, the Commission for Women and Court Watch Montgomery.


“We urge Montgomery County residents who feel afraid of their partner to call us so we can help,” said Leggett. “Both our Family Justice Center and our Abused Persons Program offer free, confidential support to people experiencing domestic violence.”


“I am so very pleased to serve as the Chair of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council,” said Katz. “It is this group that helps organize efforts to inform and educate the community regarding this important issue.”


Individuals encountering domestic violence are encouraged to call the Family Justice Center (FJC) at 240-773-0444 to access multiple services in one location, or to call the Abused Persons Program (APP) at 240-777-4673 for counseling and services to help end the cycle of violence. The FJC and APP coordinate support services, so individuals can dial either one to get needed help. However, in case of emergency, people should not hesitate to dial 911.


“To transcend from victim to survivor, an abused person needs to know there is a community that cares and will be there to help,” said Kravitz. “Montgomery County is demonstrating its commitment to people who experience domestic violence."


“Since May 2009, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with affiliated Family Justice Center agencies, has provided a broad range of lifesaving and essential services to over 9,000 persons subjected to domestic violence,” said Popkin.


Individuals are encouraged to find support and prevent tragedy by calling the FJC or APP before things escalate. In Maryland, 55 people died in domestic violence-related deaths between July 2015 and June 2016, including in Montgomery County.


“The Montgomery County Police remain committed to every victim of domestic violence,” said Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. “Our work goes beyond just investigation and arrest. Making sure that all victims get the follow up care they need is just as crucial. Please don’t suffer in silence. Seek assistance from the Family Justice Center. We are all here to help.”


"Please call if you need help, or if you have a friend or family member that needs help. Many of us see a friend in need, but don't know where to go – the FJC is here to help you help your friend," said Feinstein, who stressed the importance of accessing services.


Additional attendees at the kickoff event included Tom Manion, director, Family Justice Center, Nadja Cabello, manager, Abused Persons Program, Jodi Finkelstein, executive director, Commission for Women, Laurie Duker, executive director, Court Watch Montgomery, Resa Levy, president, Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation, Teresa Bennett, manager, Montgomery County Crisis Center, a representative from the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, and several community members from the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Commission for Women.


The outreach campaign is sponsored by Councilmember Sidney Katz, Commission for Women, Family Justice Center Foundation, and Court Watch Montgomery.


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Release ID: 17-439
Media Contact: Lorraine Driscoll 240.777.6507