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Maryland Nonprofits Combat Domestic Violence Against Youth And Adults, With Funding From The Verizon Foundation

BALTIMORE, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to raise awareness, Verizon and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler were joined on Thursday ( Oct. 4) by Rep. Elijah Cummings to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month and honor several Maryland nonprofits working to combat abuse against youth and adults.  The Verizon Foundation is awarding grants to these nonprofits to aid in their efforts.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse affect people who are married, unmarried, heterosexual, gay or lesbian, living together, separated or dating.  The violence takes many forms and can happen constantly or once in a while.

Maryland Attorney General Gansler has spearheaded tougher domestic violence laws through his role as co-chair of Maryland's Family Violence Council.

"We must do everything we can to prevent domestic violence and hold abusers accountable for their actions," said Gansler.  "This tragedy often spreads from generation to generation and we must work together to end the cycle of violence through ongoing coordination and collaboration among all segments of the community." 

According to Rep. Cummings, "Domestic violence affected nearly 18,000 Maryland men, women and children in 2010.  This tragedy destroys families and leaves physical, mental and psychological scars for years beyond the actual trauma. This must stop.  I am proud to stand with Attorney General Doug Gansler and Verizon today in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month -- and to honor these organizations that continue to work hard every day to eradicate this tragedy."

During today's recognition ceremony, Verizon announced $50,000 in foundation grants to the following recipients:

  • After School Dance Fund, which supports a domestic violence prevention education program targeting 200 underserved, diverse high school students.  The students learn how to develop healthy relationships among peers and learn strategies for addressing domestic and dating violence and empower peers in the community and schools.
  • House of Ruth, for its Gateway Program, which educates and engages men in efforts to prevent domestic violence, and incorporates key activities such as skill building, ongoing support for nonviolence, and collaboration with the criminal justice system to eliminate future violence against an intimate partner.
  • Kennedy Foundation.Net, for educational workshops for 80 to 100 girls to include domestic violence awareness and prevention, self-esteem, image and health/wellness/safety among other topics.  The goal is to have participants display a positive reaction, attitude and commitment toward the safety information that is provided to them.
  • Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, which trains more than 300 health care providers to effectively address, respond to and prevent domestic violence by identifying patients who are being abused, documenting the abuse and making referrals to local service providers.  The program will provide comprehensive domestic violence training specific to health care and train health care providers. 
  • Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation, which implements domestic violence prevention programs and training to assist survivors and their families, and increase knowledge about how to prevent domestic violence in their communities. 

Anthony A. Lewis, Verizon's mid-Atlantic region vice president of government affairs, said: "Domestic violence is a serious but preventable crime that affects millions of Americans in every segment of society.  While the problem is universal, the solutions are not.  Domestic violence victims face many challenges.  We're grateful that our funding will help break this vicious cycle and make a meaningful impact in these victims' lives forever."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.  This is more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.

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