Protecting the vulnerable from violence or death is a fundamental part of respect for life.
Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans. It refers to the physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse and does include teen dating relationships.
A statistic from the Bureau of Justice indicates that from 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female. Domestic violence affects the whole family, including any children.
Pregnancy increases the risk of domestic violence; the leading cause of pregnancy-associated death in Maryland is homicide. In 63% of the solved homicide cases of a pregnant woman, the woman was killed by a current or former intimate partner. For more information on fetal homicide in Maryland, click here. (link to pdf of fetal homicide infographic.)
Studies show Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) also increases the risk factor for delayed prenatal care, possibly because abusive partners are preventing women from leaving their home, or because a woman is missing appointments because of injuries or fear of abuse being discovered because of evidence of injuries, reports the World Health Organization (WHO).
IPV during pregnancy has been found to lead to higher rates of preterm labor and low birth weight, as well as higher rates of miscarriage and abortion.
Faith communities are called to offer hope, help, and healing to all harmed by domestic abuse and violence.
The Maryland Catholic Conference works closely with state legislators to prevent and provide for all victims of domestic violence.