Baltimore County marks Victims’ Rights Week
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 11:03

Events include presentations at Dundalk High

by Nicole Rodman

    Since 1981, the U.S. Department of Justice has set aside one week each April to throw a spotlight on victims of crime.
    This year, National Victims’ Rights Week was set for Sunday, April 21, through Saturday, April 27.
    With a theme of “New Challenges, New Solutions,” the aim of the weeklong observance is to  recognize victims of crime and promote the importance of victims’ rights.
    In Dundalk, Ofc. Anne Cuddy of North Point Police Precinct 12 marked Victims’ Rights Week early with two days of presentations at Dundalk High School.
    Visiting the school at 8:45 a.m. last Wednesday and Thursday, Officer Cuddy presented information on domestic abuse and prevention to 12th-grade classes.
    Cuddy said that while she approached a few of the high schools in the Dundalk area, Dundalk High was the only one able to schedule her visits around Victims’ Rights Week.
    She expects to speak to students at Sparrows Point High School sometime in May.
    During her visit to Dundalk High, Cuddy presented information on various types of abuse.
    “Everyone thinks abuse is just physical,” she explained.
    As she noted, abuse can also include verbal abuse, harassment and economic abuse.
    In an age of ever-present technology, abuse over social media is also becoming widespread.
    She also discussed dating abuse and violence with students, mentioning various warning signs that may lead to more dangerous situations.
    Such warning signs may include controlling behavior, jealousy and mood swings.
    By keeping such warning signs in mind, Cuddy noted, young people can become aware of an abusive relationship before it gets too far out of hand.
    During her presentation, Cuddy also shared information on what to do if you or a friend is either abusive or being abused in a relationship.
    The importance of such a presentation to area students cannot be understated.
    According to Cuddy, by learning how to spot and deal with abusive relationships now, students can avoid problems in the future.
    “It starts young,” she explained.
    Domestic violence is an especially important issue to address locally, she noted, as Dundalk has one of the highest reported rates of domestic abuse in Baltimore County.
    As for why it is important to observe Victims’ Rights Week, both nationally and locally, Cuddy said it is about sharing information and remembering victims.
    “I feel like sometimes the victims are forgotten about,” she said.
    Police precincts across Baltimore County also planned a variety of events to commemorate Victims’ Rights Week.
    Events include ceremonies and public displays.
    On April 16, Police Precinct 1 in Wilkins presented a seminar called “Transition to College ­— Be Safe” featuring guest speaker Sharon Love.
    Sharon Love is the mother of Yeardley Love, a Baltimore native who was killed in 2010 while attending the University of Virginia.
    For more information on Victims’ Rights Events across Baltimore County, visit the web at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/policereleases/policeannouncements/0410victimsrights.html.