Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chris Brown, Rihanna case puts spotlight on domestic violence

The Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic violence story is back on the front page today. Brown, a 19-year-old R&B singer, was formally charged with two counts of felony assault. He remains free on $50,000 bail.

The incident, though unfortunate, provides us a good opportunity to talk about domestic violence and resources available to victims in northwest Baltimore. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 out of every 3 women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence at some point in her life.

Maryland does not require mandatory reporting of domestic violence. But in 1996, Sinai Hospital was identified as one of three sites in Maryland to develop a model for domestic violence intervention in hospitals. The Family Violence Program (FVP) trains medical providers to identify and assess victims of domestic violence when they enter the health care setting. While other hospitals in the area may provide training and/or some crisis intervention, the Sinai Hospital Family Violence Program is the only program that provides ongoing counseling on site. Women who have witnessed the abuse receive services from FVP staff, which may include crisis intervention, individual or group counseling, and referral to community resources. In addition to the core direct services to victims, the FVP also provides consultation and education to local medical providers for developing domestic violence intervention services in their communities.

The Sinai FVP Women’s Support Group offers survivors of domestic violence a safe place to discuss their shared experiences and learn new skills to become free of violence. The group meets weekly, day or evening, and is free of charge. For more information, call 410-601-8692.

Sad to say, incidents like the Chris Brown - Rihanna story occur everyday in communities like ours, far more often than many of us know. Maybe you or someone close to you is a domestic violence victim. If so, where did you turn for services? How were you able to become free of violence?

1 comment:

Holly said...

Northwest Hospital in Randallstown also has a Domestic Violence Program for people who need help. All services are free of charge. For more information or to get help, call 410-496-7555. Also, the 24-hour Baltimore County Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 410-828-6390.