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More Than $2 Million Dedicated To Help Reduce Domestic Violence

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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A national effort is underway to combat guns and their relationship to domestic violence.

Wednesday Vice President Joe Biden announced a $2 million plan to model a new domestic violence homicide prevention program after Maryland’s current program.

Rochelle Ritchie has more from Montgomery County.

According to statistics, three women die every day because of domestic violence, and Vice President Joe Biden says it’s time to find a way to bring it to an end.

“If we look hard enough we can identify behavioral problems that most likely result in something like the taking of a life,” he said.

At the Montgomery County Executive Building in Rockville, Biden says Maryland’s current Lethality Assessment Program to prevent domestic violence murders is the way to go, but adds in order for it to work in other states gun safety laws must change.

“That’s why the president and I believe that every person that buys a gun should have a criminal background check,” Biden said.

States with tougher gun laws have a 38 percent less chance of homicides due to domestic violence.

The lethality program in Maryland partners family and children services with local law enforcement officials to point out women who are at high risk of being killed in a domestic dispute.

“This requires partnerships on all fronts. We’ve driven down domestic violence together in Maryland by 17 percent since 2006,” said Governor O’Malley.

In the last five years, the Lethality Assessment Program has decreased the number of domestic violence homicide victims by 35 percent. It’s a system that works, but came too late for Janet Blackburn’s sister.

“I can’t help but think if the Lethality Assessment Program was in place for my sister I might not be standing here right now,” said Blackburn.

Blackburn’s sister was killed by her ex-husband, along with their three children.

“Each was shot multiple times with a .22 caliber rifle,” she said.

The program will cost more than $2 million, but for every dollar spent is one woman saved.

“We can do more to prevent these tragedies from happening,” Biden said.

The $2.3 million will be spread out across 12 jurisdictions.

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