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Grant awarded to help with Maryland protective orders

Protective orders are a crucial tool in protecting those who are victims of domestic violence. Under Maryland law, these civil orders can be issued by a judge when the victim and abuser have any of the following familial or intimate relationships:

-- Related to each other by marriage, blood or adoption -- Have a child together -- Are parent and child or stepparent and stepchild, as long as they have lived under the same roof for 90 days or more in the last year -- Have been involved in an intimate relationship in which they have lived together for 90 days or more -- Are or were married

A vulnerable adult can also get a protective order against a caretaker (or vice versa).

In order to help ensure their effectiveness, these orders require the resources of law enforcement. That's why it's welcome news that the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention has awarded a total grant of over $196,000 to help police departments and sheriff's offices throughout our state handle these orders.

The grant money is being provided through Maryland's Domestic Violence Unit Program. The money can be used by local law enforcement agencies to cover the salaries and overtime pay required for employees to respond 24 hours a day to requests for protective orders and to serve those orders on the respondents, who don't have to be in court when the order is granted.

The funds can also go towards getting these orders in domestic violence databases as quickly as possible. As the executive director of the GOCCP noted, "Knowing when a protective order is served is vital for officers in police departments or sheriff's offices."

The decision to seek a protective order can be a difficult and emotional one to make. Further, respondents may present a very different view of the situation to courts and to law enforcement. Experienced legal guidance can be valuable when seeking a protective order to help ensure that your rights are protected.

Source: WMDT 47, "Eastern Shore counties receive $21k for protective order funding," July 10, 2015

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