Tougher domestic violence law takes effect in Maryland

WASHINGTON — A law that stiffens penalties for certain acts of domestic violence has officially taken effect across Maryland starting Wednesday.

“I think this is a very important step,” says John McCarthy, State’s Attorney for Montgomery County.

Under the measure, a person convicted of committing domestic violence may have up to five extra years added to their sentence if the crime happened in front of a child.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year nationwide.

Among other things, it can lead to emotional and developmental problems.

“There is the primary victim of domestic violence, but all too often there are secondary victims,” McCarthy says. “We finally have gotten an enhanced penalty for those who commit violent acts in front of a child.”

The new law sets in as broad attention is focused on the issue of domestic violence around the country. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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