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Domestic violence at the forefront after Kensington murder

Thursday - 3/15/2012, 7:08am  ET

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Victims of domestic abuse need to get away from their abusers and take advantage of community resources that can help them, Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy says.

"Domestic violence is about control," says Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy.

The issue of domestic violence is back in the spotlight after Tuesday's murder of Heather Lynn McGuire of Kensington.

McGuire had a restraining order against her estranged husband, Philip Joseph Gilberti, a man with a long record of domestic abuse. Gilberti shot McGuire in the head as she rode in a car with him. He dumped her body on Connecticut Avenue and killed himself hours later after police launched a massive manhunt for him.

McCarthy, Montgomery County's top prosecutor, says abuse victims must try to get out from underneath the control of their abusers.

"That's an essential step in providing ultimate safety from yourself," he says.

However, McCarthy says, that isn't easy.

For help, McCarthy suggests victims contact county centers that can work to help them find independence and break-free from their abusers safely.

In Montgomery County, the Family Justice Center can help.

On its website, the FJC has safety plans for people who have recently taken out protective orders. The site also has guidelines for what to do after an abuser is arrested, as well as plans to help a victim who is living her abuser.

Resources for domestic violence victims:

D.C.

  • D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence: DCCADV's membership organizations provide support for domestic violence victims, survivors, and their families for a wide range of areas. Find domestic violence resources here.
  • Domestic Violence Resources from the Metropolitan Police Department: Find resources here.

Maryland

Prince George's County

  • Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County: Provides crisis intervention services to families affected by domestic violence through emergency shelter, counseling for victims, children, and abusers, a 24 hour hotline, a safe visitation center, community education, and legal information and representation. Services also include an anger management program. No males over the age of 12 in the emergency shelter. 3601 Taylor Street, Brentwood, Md. 20722 -- Phone: 301-779-2100, 24 Hour Hotline: 301-731-1203
  • House of Ruth Maryland: Provides legal assistance, counseling to women and children, emergency shelter for domestic violence victims. Call the House Of Ruth or go directly to the walk-in legal clinics in both courthouses. The Baxter Center for Family Safety and Support, P.O. Box 697, Beltsville, Md. 20704 -- Phone: 240-450-3270; Room 155 Courthouse, 14735 Main Street, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20772 -- Phone: 301-952-4303, 24 Hour Hotline: 410-889-RUTH (7884)
  • The Pro-Bono Counseling Project: Provides professional counseling for clients without insurance coverage. 8701 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600, Silver Spring, Md. 20910 -- 301-495-3733.
  • Sexual Assault Center Prince George's Hospital: 3001 Hospital Drive, Cheverly, Md. 20785 -- 24 Hour Hotline: 301-618-3154 or 301-618-3162

Fairfax County

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WTOP's Darci Marchese contributed to this report. Follow Darci Marchese and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)