Local Judges, Churches Vie To Bring Domestic Violence Out Of Shadows

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Though reports of domestic violence have been on a downward trend in Maryland, experts say many cases go unreported with the abuse continuing.

As Mike Schuh reports, two powerful local groups met to see what can be done.

Seventy-five percent of domestic violence victims in Maryland are women.

Judges know that the number of cases usually soar in the summer.

A full house, over a hundred, gathered to take a fresh look at how to stop the abuser and help the victim.

“This helps those who are a little resistant to come to law enforcement right away when they’re victims of domestic abuse,” said Judge Katie O’Malley, district court judge.

Some solutions may lie with another power. What if Baltimore’s many churches counseled their congregations, synagogues and mosques on the problem?

Bishop Kevia Elliott says there’s a good chance this will work because the pastors are already trusted.

“It’s about relationships. The pastors build relationships with their people. They feel comfortable coming about all issues, and domestic violence affects everybody,” Elliott said.

And with Baltimore having the highest per capital domestic violence problem in all of Maryland, the mayor is all for the improvement this partnership can bring.

“But unfortunately, it’s something not a lot of people want to talk about,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “It’s pervasive yet invisible in too many communities, so this is why it’s important for us to be here.”

State figures show Baltimore City has the highest incidence of domestic violence, followed by Worchester, St. Mary’s, and then Baltimore counties.

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