Community members, advocates and law enforcement officials gathered in Montgomery Village, Maryland, on Saturday to discuss the many signs of abuse during a panel at the Covenant United Methodist Church.
Sen. Nancy King (District 39) moderated the panel discussion: “Violence in the Home.”
“There isn’t a place you can go that there isn’t this kind of thing happening, so I think it’s an awareness campaign,” she said.
Sr. Det. Theresa Durham with the Montgomery County Police Family Outreach Unit sat on the panel and said events like this help address fear of reporting within the community while providing education when it comes to what abuse looks like.
“Don’t ever think that because it’s not what it looks like on TV that it’s not abuse or neglect. You can withhold food, you can withhold medical care,” she added.
Community members gather for panel discussion focused on abuse in the home, how to recognize it and report it. If you need help, contact Montgomery Police Dept. Family Outreach Unit at 240-773-5400 @WTOP pic.twitter.com/V1X4wG3YSf
— Melissa Howell (@Mhowell003) September 21, 2019
Durham said it’s also important to report without judgment.
“You’re not living in their shoes. Give them support, give them help and report it,” said Durham. “They [victims] may not like you for a little bit of time but six months, a year later, they’re going to come back and give you that hug,” she said.
Dermot Garrett is an Assistant State’s Attorney and said this helps take the pressure off victims. It also sends a message to people who commit these kinds of crimes that intimidation will not stop others from taking steps that could save lives. She stressed that it’s the State of Maryland v.s. the defendant, not the victim v.s. the defendant.
“Even if that victim doesn’t want to come forward, we can still prosecute and potentially win based on what a neighbor, a co-worker or what someone else tells us,” he added.
For more information on how to report abuse, contact the Montgomery County Family Justice Center at 240-773-5050.