Our vision is that one day Maryland will be a state where families and relationships thrive on mutual trust and respect and where there is no place for violence.
The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence is the state domestic violence coalition that brings together victim service providers, allied professionals, and concerned individuals for the common purpose of reducing intimate partner and family violence and its harmful effects on our citizens.
If you are in immediate physical danger, please call 911 immediately. The national hotline does not provide emergency service.
Talk to Someone Now
The Hotline and partner loveisrespect provide crisis intervention services 24/7 in a few different ways. If you are in need of help, you can:
- Call 1-800-799-7233
- Chat online by going to thehotline.org and clicking on the purple “Chat Now” box in the upper right-hand corner of the page. You can do this silently without worry of being overheard speaking on the phone.
- Text “LOVEIS” to 22522.
Seeking Help and Staying Safe
There is hope—people are available to provide the help you need. Below are tips on where to find that help, and how to do it safely.
What to Expect When Calling a Domestic Violence Service Provider
A first step in seeking help can be to call your local domestic violence agency. You can talk to a caring person who will listen carefully without judging you or your situation. Advocates can help you think about your options and determine what steps and services will work best for you.
Advocates Want to Help You
Advocates may ask questions to learn more about your situation, but you are in control. They will not presume to know what is best for you. They will help you brainstorm options. Together you can consider all possible scenarios and outcomes so that you can make the best decision about action steps for you and your children.
Each local program works with people of all races, ethnicities, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, cultural backgrounds, religions, economic, and social backgrounds. Services are free and confidential. They will not report you to immigration, ICE, or law enforcement if you are undocumented.
Help Available in Maryland
All 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City have a local domestic violence service provider. Not all programs offer all services, but they can all refer you for any service they don’t offer.
Many programs provide in-house, individual counseling. This counseling can provide you with a supportive environment for exploring your thoughts and feelings. Counselors can also provide other resources and support for you and your family.
A safety plan is a personalized and practical plan for reducing the risk of being hurt. It helps you to identify things you can do to better protect you and your children at home, school, work, and in the community. Your safety plan can change at any time. It is an ever-changing process based upon your individual situation.
Shelter and Housing Options
A safe place to live when leaving an abuser is often a major need. Secure and confidential housing is available if you must leave your home because your safety is at risk. You can also receive the other services a program provides while living in a shelter.
Calling Law Enforcement
One goal of law enforcement is to ensure a victim’s safety. Most police departments understand the importance of responding quickly to calls about domestic violence. The first thing they will do when they arrive is to make sure that no further injuries will occur.
The police must then gather facts about what happened. They may talk to anyone who was part of the incident, or who witnessed or heard the incident. They will look to see if there is any “physical evidence” of an altercation, such as bruises or blood on a person, torn clothing, or broken furniture. The officers then evaluate what they have heard and seen. They will then decide whether a crime has been committed and whether anyone should be arrested. They can also call for medical help if it is needed.
Sometimes the police will arrest a person when they come to the scene. Sometimes they will arrest the person later. Sometimes they will never make an arrest. In almost all family violence cases, the police must arrest anyone they believe has committed a crime, based on the facts.
In many Maryland communities law enforcement officers are trained to connect survivors with the local domestic violence service provider to assist. Maryland’s domestic violence programs have close working relationships with their local law enforcement agencies. They often work together to ensure your safety and try to see that your abuser is held accountable for their actions.