40 Moreover, disruptions in education and higher school dropout
rates can reduce the earning potential of these children.
41 These costs combine to pass the negative effects of domestic violence onto the next generation.
III. THE FAILURE OF MARYLAND’S LEGAL SYSTEM
The Maryland criminal justice system, charged with handling the state’s
domestic violence cases, is failing victims of domestic violence. Under the
current system, individuals are overly responsible for seeking support for
themselves rather than being able to rely on protection by the state. Victims
must make the decision to apply for peace orders42 or protective orders43
and see the process through—often with a lawyer’s help, but usually on
their own. Due to limited public resources, the state often refers victims to
state- and local-level nonprofit agencies for assistance.
Between the two types of orders available to victims, protective orders
cover people who are current and former spouses; parents, step-parents or
step-children who have lived together for at least ninety days; vulnerable
adults; people who have children with their abusers; and people related to
their abusers by blood, marriage, or adoption.
45 Peace order cover individuals who are not eligible for protective orders and are victims of abuse.
After filing a petition at the court, a victim must appear before a judge to
receive a temporary order.
A temporary protective order can be issued on
the same day and issued without a full hearing in court.
48 If the court is
closed, the district court commissioner can issue an interim order until the
temporary hearing can occur.
49 During the temporary order hearing, the victim must satisfy to the judge that there are reasonable grounds to believe
40. WORLDHEALTHORG.,PREVENTINGINTIMATEPARTNER ANDSEXUALVIOLENCE
16 (2010), available at
41. Nata Duvvury et al., Int’l Ctr. for Research on Women, Costs of Intimate Partner
Violence at the Household and Community Levels
25 (2004), http://www.icrw.org/files/
42. See MD. CODE ANN., CTS. & JUD. PROC. § 3-1501 (West, WestlawNext through
chapters effective May 15, 2014, of the 2014 Regular Session of the General Assembly).
43. See MD. CODE ANN., FAM. LAW § 4-501.
44. See generally MD. DEP’T OF HUMAN RES., ADDRESSING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
MARYLAND’S PLAN 2010-2011, available at
/uploads/2012/10/DVPlan.pdf (last visited May 22, 2014).
46. Nat’l Network to End Domestic Violence, Peace Orders (updated Oct. 2, 2012),
47. See MD. CODE ANN., FAM. LAW § 4-505.
49. Id. § 4-504.1(a).