CHEVERLY– A year after a sexual assault center in Prince George’s County expanded its services, officials say it has helped discover more victims of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center at the Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Md., received a $125,000 grant from the state and private groups last year to help doctors and hospital staff get training to identify domestic violence victims.
Hospital staff have been trained to screen patients about their safety at home and, if necessary, to refer them to the domestic violence center.
“The goal, really, is to help people get safe,” said the center’s Community Educator Cheryl Banks.
The center offers crisis intervention, counseling, referral services and victim advocacy, as well as forensic exams conducted in a safe and private environment.
Before 2010, the center only focused on sexual assault cases.
“Hurting people hurt people and if we do not stop this problem it’s going to tear up the fabric of our communities, our cities, our state, our nation, our world,” said a former victim of violence who has benefited from the services the center offered, who declined to give her name.
In the future, the staff hopes to expand into the community, hoping that education will lead to prevention. The center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Anyone affected by domestic violence or sexual assault should contact the center at (301) 618-3154.