This report documents the tragic deaths of 35 children state-wide in intimate partner related violence.
Almost a third were killed during dangerous court-ordered exchanges for visitation or during
unsupervised visits with dangerous or unstable parents. Court watch reiterates that these deaths might
have been preventable were safe visitation services widely available. Increasing the number of domestic
violence victims that have viable safety plans and strong protective orders would also help prevent such
In this report Court Watch analyzes data gathered from media reports on domestic violence homicides in Montgomery County from 2000-2015 in an effort to assess the ongoing costs of domestic violence and shed light on the most common types of cases. Among the 60 deaths, 73% of which were female and 25% of which were children, there is a common link. They often occur when victims attempts to leave their relationship with their abusers, sometimes in situations where the mother has been court-ordered to exchange her children with her ex-partner in unsafe surroundings. Over one third of the deaths are gun-related. The report underlines the need for safe child exchange centers where visitation can be supervised and the parties are not required to interact. It also recommends strengthening the process of gun retrieval from convicted domestic violence offenders.
Between July 2013 and June 2014, 54 Marylanders lost their lives to domestic violence. 70% of the fatalities were due to guns. Last night a large crowd gathered in Annapolis to remember victims. Domestic violence homicides are preventable. New bills in the Maryland legislature would add protections for victims of violence in dating relationships and […]
Just “A Piece of Paper?”: Domestic Violence Peace and Protective Orders in Montgomery County District Courts (Second Monitoring Report)
In this follow-up report, Court Watch documents 510 hearings and measures changes in the most critical areas outlined in our first report of October 2011. Notably, in areas of court process and procedure, there have been significant improvements, including a sharp increase in use of staggered exits and the introduction of an English/Spanish audio explaining how a hearing will work. Judicial demeanor has also greatly improved, with fewer incidents of disrespect. However, individual judges varied widely in their use of warnings to individual respondents about criminal penalties for violations and firearms possession, as they did in questioning petitioners asking to dismiss their cases about their safety. The result was an overall negligible change in the numbers documenting use of these best practices in our first report. Our data also raised additional concerns. Of the 510 cases we heard, there were 380 where children were involved, highlighting the dangers to children of witnessing domestic violence and the need for courts to notify petitioners of off-site resources such as The Family Justice Center and the Safe Start counseling program for children.