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House of Ruth Maryland

2011 National Crime Victim Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

House of Ruth Maryland | National Crime Victim Service Award
Baltimore, Maryland

House of Ruth Maryland (HRM) opened in 1977 and was the state’s first shelter for battered women and their children. Today, it is one of the most comprehensive domestic violence centers in the country. 

HRM’s programs include emergency shelter services, transitional housing, a 24-hour crisis hotline (which fielded more than 7,500 calls last year), counseling for victims and their children, legal advocacy and representation through HRM’s Legal Clinic (the Clinic), and various outreach and education programs to change beliefs and attitudes in the community. In Fiscal Year 2009, HRM’s licensed social workers, attorneys, case managers, and support staff served an unduplicated 5,535 victims of domestic violence and 3,471 of their family members and friends. 

The Clinic was established in 1983, and today is recognized as one of the foremost shelter-based domestic violence legal clinics in the nation. Clinic staff undertake substantial advocacy efforts, working with other organizations to improve the systemic response to domestic violence, raising awareness in the community about the legal remedies available to victims, and advocating for better legal protection through legislative action. 

For more than 25 years, the Clinic’s director has led the state in drafting and advocating for the passage of legislation that will improve Maryland’s domestic violence laws. In 1991, HRM was pivotal in achieving passage of the Battered Spouse Syndrome Bill, which permits battered individuals charged with assaulting or killing their abusive partners to introduce evidence of their abuse at trial. Through such legislative changes, the Clinic helps thousands of victims that it might never serve directly. 

The staff at the House of Ruth was nominated by Christopher Frascella, Policy Analyst, Social Solutions.