“Five years ago, my own family lived through the murder of my cousin Cathy at the hands of her estranged boyfriend. I know how domestic violence can upend any family. Our families and our communities will be stronger when our wives, our mothers, and our daughters can live their lives free from the fear of domestic violence. Together, we’ve made a lot of progress in reducing abuse, but our work won’t be finished until we can finally say that domestic violence is a thing of the past.”
Progress: As Lieutenant Governor, Anthony led a series of initiatives and passed legislation aimed at ending domestic violence in our State. From expanding services and protecting victims’ rights, to giving law enforcement more and better resources and training, to requiring judges to take guns out of the hands of abusers – Anthony is committed to the goal of zero domestic violence-related deaths, zero domestic assaults, zero trips to the emergency room because of violence, and zero children left without families because of domestic abuse. Anything less is unacceptable.
As a result of Anthony’s work during his term as Lieutenant Governor, Maryland:
- Reduced the number of domestic violence-related assaults by nearly 20 percent;
- Decreased domestic violence-related homicides by 15.3 percent;
- Met and exceeded the goal to reduce violent crime by 20 percent – since 2006, by driving down violent crime by 26.3 percent – to the lowest levels since 1975; and
- Reduced juvenile and female homicides by 31.7 percent.
As Lieutenant Governor, Anthony led the State of Maryland on the following initiatives:
Passing New Laws to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence – Anthony championed numerous new laws to reduce domestic violence and protect victims:
- Taking Guns Away from Abusers – In 2009, Anthony spearheaded the effort to pass “Cathy’s Law,” which requires judges to remove guns from domestic abusers when a permanent protective order is issued, and allows them to do so when issuing a temporary protective order. Previously, judges were unable to take away guns from domestic abusers when issuing a temporary order, even when a specific threat of violence was present. For his work passing this critical piece of legislation, Anthony was given the 2009 Legislative Award by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence.
- Fighting for Tenants – In 2010, Anthony teamed with Delegate Cheryl Glenn of Baltimore City to help pass new legislation that made it possible for victims who are renting to require their landlord to change their locks or break a residential lease without forfeiting their security deposit or any other penalty in order to protect themselves from an abuser.
- Providing Unemployment Insurance to Victims – No victim of domestic violence should be forced to choose between personal safety and financial security. To make this possible, in 2012 Anthony spearheaded the effort to give victims of domestic violence the ability to receive unemployment benefits if forced to leave a job to escape an abuser.
- Strengthening our Criminal Justice System to Support Victims – Under Anthony’s leadership, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention passed a series of laws that support our law enforcement and protect victims, including: extending temporary peace orders and protective orders in certain domestic abuse situations; expanding prohibitions against using email to harass domestic violence victims to include all forms of electronic communication; and giving judges the ability to mark a case as “domestically related” in order to better track patterns of abuse.
Expanding Services to Victims of Domestic Violence: Anthony fought to provide victims of domestic violence with the services they need to break the cycle of abuse. Anthony has been a staunch advocate for funding for victims’ services and has taken his message to Capitol Hill, where he stood with leaders such as Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Barbara Mikulski to advocate for the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
- Hospital Based Domestic Violence Screening and Assistance Programs – Anthony recognizes the connection between public health and public safety. In his leadership role on health care and domestic violence, Anthony led the effort to double the number of hospital-based domestic violence screening, referral and assistance programs. These programs train hospital personnel to identify and assist victims of domestic violence who present at the emergency department. The staff then connects victims with local domestic violence services so that they can escape the cycle of violence. These interventions help prevent future violence and reduce emergency department visits and health care costs.
- Safe Haven for our Children – Anthony knows that too often children are innocent bystanders in cases of domestic violence and abuse. That is why he partnered with the Office on Violence Against Women to open a center where families involved in domestic violence can have supervised visitations with their children.
Supporting Law Enforcement to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence: Anthony knows that law enforcement officials are often the first to arrive when domestic violence or abuse occurs – and that those calls for service are often the most dangerous calls our first responders face. That is why Anthony supported expanding and fully funding the Lethality Assessment Program, a unique program developed by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence.
- Lethality Assessment Program – The Lethality Assessment Program is a screening tool used by law enforcement to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the greatest risk and connect them immediately to a local domestic violence program. As of October, 2012, 100 percent of law enforcement agencies in Maryland that respond to calls for service are now committed to using the LAP. Due to this commitment, from 2006 through 2011, over 43,000 lethality assessment screens were conducted by law enforcement officials.