Upper Marlboro, MD… The Prince George’s County Sheriff and the Domestic Violence Intervention Division (DVID) held a luncheon to celebrate partners in the fight against domestic violence as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. The theme of the luncheon was “Celebrating Partners – Hope and Help for Victims of Domestic Violence.” Guests from over 15 County and State organizations, including law enforcement, the criminal justice system, advocacy organizations and service providers attended the luncheon at the Colony South Hotel & Conference Center in Clinton, MD.
Encouraging a mood of celebration, Justine Love the Mistress of Ceremonies and well-known radio personality, community advocate and Director of Community and Public Affairs for CBS Radio of Washington, D.C., said, “You carry (everyday) the burden of people who hurt so if nobody told you they love you today – I do.”
In his welcoming remarks, Sheriff High said the Celebrating Partners theme was recognition that the County and the State are making enormous progress in the fight against domestic violence, but that it is the combined effort of every partner, working together that represents help and hope for victims.
“Last year alone, our Special Victim Assistants (SVA) assisted nearly 5,000 people who were either victims of domestic violence or fearful of becoming a victim,” said Sheriff High. “Whether we reached out to them or they reached out to us, if they took action that means our collective message is getting through.”
Representatives from each of the partner organizations were presented a Certificate of Appreciation. A special Award of Commendation was given to Retired Captain Daniel Hall, who was commander of the unit during the fastest period of growth and development of the Domestic Violence Intervention Division.
The luncheon closed with “Somber Reflection”, a ceremony in memory of nine victims whose lives were lost in FY2012 as a result of domestic violence. Nine Special Victim Assistants from the Sheriff’s Office “stood” in remembrance of the nine lives lost by standing in front of nine life-sized red Silent Witness Silhouettes. The silhouettes are the symbol of the Silent Witness National Initiative which was started by a group of women in Minnesota who wanted to create something to commemorate the lives lost to domestic violence.
Sheriff High thanked the luncheon coordinators Captain Ronald Terry, Commander of DVID and Ms. Bethany Bordeaux, Supervisor of the SVA Unit. “It was a program we enjoyed organizing to thank the partners we work with every day to do this important work,” said Captain Terry.
The following partner organizations were celebrated at the luncheon: Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley, Ph.D., Howard University, Professor & Director, Ph.D. Program/School of Social Work; Community Advocates for Family & Youth; Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, The House of Ruth Maryland; Kennedy Foundation, Inc., Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Maryland Crime Victims Resources Center; Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence; Mobile Crisis Response Team; My Covenant Place – Prince George’s County Health Department; The Prince George’s Hospital Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center at Dimensions Healthcare System; the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD); State’s Attorney’s Office for Prince George’s County; Still I Rise; Office of the Sheriff Domestic Violence Intervention Division (DVID) Deputies, Domestic Violence Processing Unit and Special Victim Assistants (SVA).