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Calling All Maryland Residents!

Legislation under consideration in the Maryland Legislature would help Tahirih clients like Maria* rebuild their lives. And we need your help to make sure it passes.

Maria suffered years of domestic violence and was hospitalized after being brutally attacked by her ex-partner, who stabbed her as she slept and then attempted to strangle her when she struggled to get up.

From her hospital bed, Maria bravely cooperated with police to help bring her abuser to justice, but then lost touch with the authorities. After recovering from her injuries, she fled the area in fear of further harm. But her abuser continued to threaten her life over the phone. She lived in constant fear, and fell into a debilitating depression.

It was only after Maria came to Tahirih that she fully understood her rights and the protections available to her under the law, and had the help and expert advocacy she needed to access justice and safety.

Tahirih’s social services staff connected her with a therapist and helped her reduce her medical bills. Her legal team worked diligently throughout her complex immigration case and helped her obtain a U visa, a temporary legal status for victims of certain serious crimes who assist in investigations or prosecutions.

Maria credits Tahirih’s help with changing her life. Now, Maryland legislators are considering legislation that would greatly increase resources for victims like Maria.

HB 803 and SB 1005 are the House and Senate versions of an important measure in the Maryland Legislature that would increase funding to the Maryland Victims of Crime (MVOC) Fund. The additional funds would be raised through a small increase in defendant court fees.

Tahirih Baltimore receives an MVOC Fund grant for its Legal Services for Immigrant Women and Children Project, which provides advocacy, support services, and legal representation in immigration court for immigrant victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

The MVOC Fund has not seen an increase in 17 years. Each year, the Fund can only meet about one-third of the acute demand expressed by victims’ services organizations like Tahirih that apply for support.

HB 803 and SB 1005 would mean additional funding for MVOC grant projects like Tahirih’s.

*Name has been changed to protect client privacy.

Do Something!

Please reach out to your state legislators in the House and Senate judicial committees today to urge their support! A hearing on SB 1005 will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, 2014.