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Maryland Local Teams For Reviewing Domestic Violence Fatalities


Domestic violence is a form of abuse under Maryland law that can involve serious bodily harm, threats of such harm, or other acts of violence. But unlike other types of abuse, domestic violence requires a specific type of relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. In many domestic violence cases, the perpetrator and victim are current or former spouses, parents to a common child, or romantic partners.

In light of the relationships involved in domestic violence cases, Maryland established a program to track fatalities in these matters. Referred to as Domestic Violence Fatality Review Teams — or “Local Team(s)” for short — these county-based groups incorporate multidisciplinary and multiagency actors to review fatalities stemming from domestic violence.

Composition of Local Teams in Maryland

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-703 explains that each Local Team shall draw from available resources within the applicable county. As available, each Local Team shall include individuals from:

  • Survivors of domestic violence;
  • Domestic violence service providers and coordinating council;
  • Local departments of health and social services;
  • Judges and clerks of the district or circuit courts;
  • Law enforcement agencies;
  • State’s Attorney’s office;
  • Chief Medical Examiner’s office;
  • Division of Parole and Probation;
  • Intervention service providers;
  • Hospitals; and
  • Other people necessary to work for the Local Team, as recommended by that team.

Purpose of Local Teams in Maryland

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-704 furnishes the purpose of the Local Teams. Each of these teams is responsible for preventing domestic violence fatalities by:

  • Advancing cooperation between agencies involved in investigating domestic violence and those providing services to victims;
  • Exploring the causes of domestic violence fatalities within the applicable county; and
  • Developing plans and recommended changes for agencies that deal with domestic violence cases.

To achieve the purpose outlined above, each Local Team must:

  • Create and execute protocols for the operation of the team;
  • Review fatalities and serious physical injuries related to domestic violence within the applicable county;
  • Conduct regular meetings to review cases, recommend actions, and suggest preventive measures; and
  • Deliver reports that help improve inter-agency coordination, implement recommended changes, and suggest changes to law, policy, and practice.

It is important to note a limitation on the power of the Local Teams. These teams may only review domestic violence cases only after the conclusion of:

  • Trial case in the matter; or
  • Investigation of a suicide in the matter.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about domestic violence in Maryland, it can be demonstrably helpful to speak with a seasoned Bel Air domestic violence attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including domestic violence. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.





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