When a victim of intimate partner violence has children with the abuser, only a protective order that details a plan for safe visitation with the abuser will keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, far too few judges take the time necessary to separately assess risk and use resources in the community to ensure safety.

Every day domestic violence victims come to Maryland courts to ask for legal protection to help stop the violence immediately and permanently. If they have children with the abuser it is very unlikely that the protective order will actually stop the violent contact.

Victims in Maryland who have children with their abuser are regularly given a “no contact” order that actually requires the victim to see her abuser every other week to exchange the children.

This is a prescription for disaster that perpetuates the trauma and control and all too often leads to injury or death. For the first time, monitored exchange  and supervised visitation are being provided in Montgomery County at the Safe Passage Center in Rockville. But far too few residents have access to these services, and judges order them far too rarely.

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