Purple light campaign in Prince George’s County aims to end domestic violence

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Upper Marlboro, Md. – A community with a troubling history of domestic violence issues is trying to use the month of October to shine a light on the issue.

On Monday, several departments including the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office and Police Department took part in the Purple Light Nights ceremony.

Both departments are among close to 20 government agencies and non-profit organizations that are now under one roof in the recently opened Family Justice Center.

The center is the latest effort to do something about the high number of homicides tied to domestic violence in Prince George’s County.

“We want everyone in the community to adopt this concept and to put a purple bulb on their porch and light it to show our community is in solidarity against the scourge of our community,” said Sheriff Melvin High.

A spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office told the crowd gathered for Monday night’s ceremony that 9,400 domestic violence protective orders had been applied for from June of 2015 through July of 2016.

“We have a sizable number of protective orders but that's a good thing because it means that people now are becoming aware and they know where they can go to get help,” said High.

Some out to support the purple light effort that coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness month have lost loved ones to domestic violence. Candace Brown lost her daughter Ramona two years ago. Since then, she’s reached out to victims to offer emotional support and encourage them to leave abusive relationships.

Brown believes there is a lot the community can learn about the dangers that can help protect even more victims.

“It’s economics, it's teaching people about anger management, it's about encouraging counseling for families and coming together as a community to embrace this issue as well,” said Brown.

In September there were 507 requests from courts in Prince George's County for Domestic violence protective orders. State statistics show in 70 percent of those requests men were the aggressors.

More than half of those requests, 277 were dismissed by the courts for a variety of reasons. The main reason for the dismissal is because the accuser refused to return to court to continue the process of seeking a protective order against an alleged abuser.

Across the state, the courts were asked to consider 2,101 domestic violence protective orders in the month of September 2015, meaning about one quarter of all requests statewide came from Prince George's County.

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