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Montgomery County Executive Elrich, Councilmember Katz, Commission for Women and Public Safety Leaders Urge the Public to Access Free County Services to Prevent and Address Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Highlighting that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Councilmember Sidney Katz, and other County leaders today urged the public to access County services to prevent and address domestic violence. 

“Montgomery County offers free services to help people who are experiencing domestic violence,” said County Executive Elrich. “I urge anyone experiencing these issues to call our Family Justice Center or our Abused Persons Program – both offer free, confidential support to help promote safety, well-being and healing. Please spread the word.” 

Elrich and Katz were joined at the Executive Office Building in Rockville by Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones, Sheriff Darren M. Popkin, State's Attorney John McCarthy, Assistant State’s Attorney Debbie Feinstein, Nicole Drew, president of the Commission for Women, and representatives of the Family Justice Center, the Abused Persons Program and members of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. 

Montgomery County residents who would like to talk with someone and learn their options can call the Family Justice Center at 240-773-0444 or the Abused Persons Program at 240-777-4673. Both programs offer residents free, coordinated services and support. However, in case of emergency, people should not hesitate to dial 911. 

The Family Justice Center (FJC), which is located in Rockville, is a collaboration of public and private agencies seeking to provide services to families impacted by domestic violence in a family-friendly environment. Comprehensive services include safety planning, counseling for adults and children, filing protective orders, legal representation for protective order hearings, immigration legal services, assistance with criminal charges, career counseling, and referrals for basic needs such as shelter, food and clothing. Since 2009, the FJC has served 12,000 people from 100 countries of origin; last year, FJC offered help to County residents in 20 different languages. 

“As chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, and immediate past chair of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, I know that the resources the County provides through the Family Justice Center and its partners are critical to our support for victims of domestic violence and their families,” said Councilmember Katz. “This ‘ad’ campaign is a wonderful way to let members of our community know where they can turn for assistance.”

The Abused Persons Program (APP) is part of Trauma Services in the Department of Health and Human Services. Since 1976, it has offered comprehensive support to Montgomery County domestic violence victims and offenders. Last year, APP served 1,079 victims and 556 offenders. APP provides counseling for adults, victim assistance and advocacy, support groups, case management and court accompaniment; in multiple languages at multiple locations. APP also manages the County Domestic Violence Shelter and the Safe Passages Center, which supports safe exchanges and supervised visits.

During October, the County is promoting outreach to both programs. Messages advise: “If you are afraid of your partner, free help is available. Call us.” Ads are posted in English and Spanish on Ride On buses (sponsored by the Commission for Women and the office of Councilmember Sidney Katz), as well as via social media and electronic boards throughout the County.

The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) offers prevention initiatives, including such public outreach to address domestic violence. DVCC programs also include Choose Respect Montgomery which promotes healthy teen dating relationships through workshops, a video contest, a community festival and programs for student athletes.    

Domestic violence affects people of all ages, genders, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status – including across Montgomery County. The DVCC provides links to information about the issue.

Domestic violence statistics for Maryland are provided by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in four women and nearly one in 10 men nationally have experienced intimate partner violence during their lifetime and reported some form of impact. Further, more than 43 million women and 38 million men experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Additional CDC data and context is available.

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Release ID: 19-339
Media Contact: Lorraine Driscoll 240-777-6533