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Schlaich & Thompson Chartered Bel Air Family, Divorce & Criminal Lawyer

What Is The Victims Of Domestic Violence Program In Maryland?


The victims of domestic violence in Maryland and elsewhere have historically suffered from a lack of protective and supportive services. To address this unfortunate reality, the Maryland General Assembly created the Victims of Domestic Violence Program. Featuring a multifaceted purpose, the Program helps provide support to victims of domestic violence and safeguard them from further abuse.

What is the Purpose of the Victims of Domestic Violence Program? 

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-514 outlines the purpose of the Program. The Maryland General Assembly created the Program because:

  • Victims of domestic violence often must leave their homes to safeguard their lives, safety, and welfare;
  • Victims of domestic violence and their children are often financially reliant on the abuser for shelter and other necessities; and
  • Victims of domestic violence were often disregarded in the past, which created a void of temporary housing and necessary support services.

Who Qualifies as a Victim of Domestic Violence?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-513 defines who qualifies as a victim of domestic violence. Under this section, a victim of domestic violence must:

  • Sustain deliberate, severe, and verifiable physical harm or injury; or
  • Be in fear of imminent physical harm or injury of a deliberate, severe, and verifiable nature.

Additionally, a victim of domestic violence must fall into one of the categories detailed in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-501. More specifically, this section requires a domestic violence victim to be a/an:

  • Current or former spouse of the abuser;
  • Roommate who lives in the same place as the abuser;
  • Family relation to the abuser by blood, marriage, or adoption;
  • Parent or child of the abuser who shared the same residence for at least 90 days in the past year;
  • Stepparent or stepchild of the abuser who shared the same residence for at least 90 days in the past year;
  • Individual who shares a child with the abuser;
  • Individual who had a sexual relationship with the abuser in the past 12 months;
  • Individual against whom the abuser allegedly committed a sex crime in the past six months; or
  • Vulnerable adult.

Which Services Can Victims of Domestic Violence Obtain?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-515 explains which services victims of domestic violence can obtain through the Program. Under this section, the Program exists to provide domestic violence victims and their children with:

  • Temporary shelter;
  • Assistance with locating shelter;
  • Counseling;
  • Information;
  • Referral; and
  • Rehabilitation.

The services above are available across Maryland to in-state residents. And the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services supervises the Program to ensure proper operation and standards.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you need support with your case, contact our skilled Bel Air domestic violence attorneys. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered for a consultation.

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