BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s one of the most dangerous calls for officers to respond to: domestic violence. Tuesday, officers from Baltimore to Virginia met to discuss how to better handle domestic abuse before it turns deadly.

Rick Ritter reports officials are kicking off Domestic Violence Prevention Month in a big way.

The meeting comes just weeks after the inside elevator video surfaced of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer.

Officials say unfortunately, it takes a case like that sometimes to help raise awareness across the country.

Thousands are injured and hundreds die each year. The struggles of domestic violence continue to rip across the country.

“It’s happening all across the country. We know it’s way under-reported,” said Aviva Kurash, International Association of Chiefs of Police.

At Anne Arundel County police headquarters, an opportunity for officers from Baltimore to DC to converse and find ways to remove firearms in domestic situations.

“We don’t know what’s happened behind those closed doors,” said Anne Arundel County Police Major Ed Bergen.

And better protect victims in our region.

“The sharing on information amongst agencies is really important,” said Kurash.

From July to June 2013, 50 victims died in Maryland due to domestic violence.

“Let’s face it, a lot of those victims are dying with gun violence,” said Bergen.

An estimate of 1.3 million women are victims of abuse by their partner each year.

“As much as we see women, the victims, men are just as likely to be victims of domestic violence,” said TJ Smith.

The infamous Ray Rice video certainly raised eyebrows across the country but police say it showed many who didn’t know just how serious domestic violence is.

“We in this profession have been screaming for years about, why does it take a video to understand what these victims are going through?” Bergen said.

Since the video, PSAs are all over, including the No More campaign seen by millions during NFL games—awareness to help make sure every domestic violence case is heard and help prevent violence down the road.

“The concern is where maybe one slips through the crack because if one slips through the crack, it has a devastating effect,” Bergen said.

Even a charge of second degree assault in Maryland can carry a sentence of up to 10 years.

Statistics show one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

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Rick Ritter


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