WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced $998,955 in U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant funding to the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, a community-wide collaboration of public and private agencies that works to assist domestic violence victims and their families.
“Too many of our family members, children, and friends suffer in silence at the hands of domestic violence,” said Senator Cardin. “Unfortunately, Maryland is not immune to this nationwide problem, but this federal grant will help Montgomery County victims of domestic violence begin to heal and pick up the pieces of their lives. Thanks to the Violence Against Women Act program, victims of domestic violence know that their local communities stand ready to offer them support, protection and empowerment.”
“We can’t just combat domestic violence. We have to end it,” Senator Mikulski said. “This funding will protect women, families and our communities, and help rebuild lives. No woman in this country should live in fear for her life or that of her kids. That’s why I strongly support legislation and grant programs that help protect women and their families from continued violence and abuse.”
“The Family Justice Center is extremely important, as it offers a safe haven for the victims of domestic violence. I want to thank Senators Mikulski and Cardin and Reps. Van Hollen and Edwards for taking the lead on acquiring this grant. Their efforts will ensure that the center can continue to provide free services to help families that need a refuge when violence occurs at home,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett.
The funds, awarded to the Montgomery County Family Justice Center through the Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders Program (Arrest) grant programs administered by the DOJ, will be used to help victims of domestic violence and their families live safe, violence-free lives, helping the Center staff to remove barriers for victims seeking safety, reduce the stress of proceeding through the court system, break the intergenerational cycle of violence in families, and provide services to address the needs of children exposed to domestic violence or those who have experienced violence at the hands of the offender. Since 2009, the Family Justice Center has received nearly $2 million in Arrest grants.
As chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Mikulski has provided historic levels of funding for programs at the DOJ to help states and communities protect women, children and families from violence. In fiscal year 2011, she put $418 million in the federal checkbook for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs, including $60 million for Arrest grants, and $705 million for the Crime Victims Fund.
Each year, approximately 2.3 million women nationwide and 20,000 women in Maryland are victims of domestic violence, and one in four women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. Studies show that utilizing community-based support services, like domestic violence shelters, helps break the cycle of violence and keep women safe.
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