Prince George’s County unveils victim resource center ‘years in the making’

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Prince George’s County is doing something to change its domestic violence statistics. More victims of abuse seek protective orders in the county than any other in Maryland, but a new resource center aims to make it easier to get help.

Standing in the parking lot behind the county courthouse, State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks joined county leaders, police and nonprofit organizations to celebrate the county’s new family justice center.

“We’ve been waiting years for this,” Alsobrooks said before addressing the large crowd gathering for the grand opening.

The center means victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, elder abuse and others can find the legal help, counseling and housing resources they need in one place.

“Many of them just give up,” she said. “If I have to go to five different stops to get help, I may not come back. But if I can do this right here, this is really very helpful.”

The justice center on main street houses 19 different organizations.

“When courthouse proceedings are over, they can conveniently make the short walk to 19 service providers located at this one-stop shop,” said council chair Derrick Davis.

The center is an initiative of the circuit courts, where victims sought 6,500 protective order petitions in 2015.

Prince George’s County leads other counties in the state in protective orders. A fact Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera said they will fix.

“Families will now have improved and safe access to legal assistance, counseling, social services and so much more in one convenient place to aid them in their road to recovery from various forms of abuse,” she said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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