University of Maryland Medical Center opens domestic violence center

Maryland added its 10th hospital-based domestic violence program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, officials announced Monday.

The Bridge Project at UMMC was launched with a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and a $20,000 grant from Verizon.

The program will serve patients at both the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and the UMMC Emergency Department.

Victims of domestic violence will be able to get crisis counseling, safety planning, referrals and follow-up services around the clock. They will be assisted with shelter placement, locating legal assistance and identifying follow-up counseling and services, said officials, including Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, members of Congress and domestic violence officials who announced the program.

The Verizon money will specifically be used for emergency housing, client needs, transportation and some staff training.

Other area programs are located at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Sinai Hospital and Northwest Hospital. Other programs are in Prince George’s Hospital Center, Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown.

In addition to passage of legislation that led to the hospital programs several years ago, the General Assembly this year passed bills to reduce the burden of proof needed for a protective order, count second degree assault as a reason for a permanent protective order and give judges authority to add punishment for violence in front of a minor at home.

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