Thirteen charities from across Maryland gathered at Anne Arundel Medical Center to receive their share of $200,000 in grants from Verizon to help raise awareness and stop domestic violence.
"Domestic violence is a serious but preventable crime that affects millions of Americans in every segment of society," said a statement from Anthony Lewis, Verizon’s mid-Atlantic region vice president of state government affairs. "Verizon has focused resources and funding for a number of years to help break this vicious cycle and make a meaningful impact on these victims’ lives.”
Lewis' company donated the grants fund thought its Verizon Foundation—which has donated more than half a billion dollars to charities across the country since 2000. The company also provides wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence.
Verizon officials gathered with Maryland lawmakers at the hospital to present the checks and discuss honor the work being done by the 13 groups.
"The best way to prevent domestic violence is to bring it out of the shadows and hold abusers accountable for their actions," said House Speaker Mike Busch (D-Annapolis).
In the United States, about 24 people per minute are victims of physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner, according to the Center for Disease Control. That adds up to more than 12 million people a year.
In Maryland, more than 1,500 people have died as a result of domestic violence between 1987 and 2010, according to the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. In 2010, domestic violence related deaths dropped to a record low of 38 for the year.
“Domestic violence destroys families and leaves physical, mental and psychological scars for years beyond the actual trauma. This must stop," Sen. John Astle (D-Annapolis) said. "I commend these organizations and concerned corporate citizens like Verizon for stepping up to help those who need it most."
Here are the groups that received grants and how they plan to spend the funds.
- Anne Arundel Health System, to train 300 health care providers to address, respond to and prevent domestic violence by identifying patients who are being abused, documenting the abuse and making referrals to local service providers.
- Community Advocates for Family and Youth, to implement a comprehensive domestic violence prevention and education program to include 24-hour support services for victims, mental health and crisis counseling, emergency housing and legal referrals for protective order preparation.
- Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, to provide more than 100 adult clients and 45 children with weekly, one-hour therapy sessions to assess each individual for symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Family Crisis Resource Center, to implement Project Aspire, which will offer support services and empowerment resources to victims of domestic violence.
- Greater Baltimore Medical Center, to train 200 health care providers to better identify and address suspected or confirmed cases of domestic violence and abuse.
- Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, for emotional and supportive services to victims of domestic violence and their families, and to conduct community outreach and education largely in underserved communities where clients have limited English-speaking skills.
- Mercy Medical Center, to implement a domestic violence prevention and safety education program for middle and high school students in Baltimore City and promote safe dating relationships.
- Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, for mental health services, including crisis counseling for rural and Spanish-speaking victims and their families.
- Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center, to educate and provide mental health counseling service to domestic violence survivors and their children so they can end abusive situations and transition into safety and independence.
- Sisters4Sisters, to implement L.O.V.E., a domestic violence education and prevention program that will include self-esteem workshops and healthy dating information for young women and girls ages 9-24.
- The People’s Community Baptist Church, to help with community outreach, awareness and domestic violence prevention through public service announcements, public events, educational materials, monthly workshops, counseling and referrals.
- University of Maryland Foundation Baltimore County, to launch the Relationship Violence Prevention Program to educate more than 3,000 students about how to recognize, address and prevent relationship violence in the school and in their communities.
- Women Who Care Ministries, to sustain and expand its domestic violence prevention program in Maryland, including mental health counseling, workshops and health and shelter services.