LEONARDTOWN, Md. (June 21, 2009) - Dr. Kathleen O'Brien, Executive Director and the Community Counseling staff of Walden Sierra, Inc. accepted a 2009 Governor's Victim Assistance Award on May 8. Walden Sierra was selected for "unwavering commitment to furthering the rights of crime victims, advocacy for fair, compassionate, and dignified treatment of all victims, and determination to increase awareness of victims' rights issues."
Given by the Maryland State Board of Victim Services, the Governor's citation honors the efforts of victim services advocates around the state.
"Our services are needed more than ever in these difficult times," said O'Brien in a statement. "The crisis hotline has recently experienced an increase in calls, with hotline calls related to domestic violence nearly doubling in April."
Walden's community-based services, including domestic violence/sexual assault crisis intervention and trauma counseling, features the 24-Hour Walden Crisis Hotline as the hub. In Walden's 2008 program year, these services touched the lives of many community members:
-- 4,126 calls from the community were answered by the crisis hotline;
-- 397 victims of domestic violence and 70 victims of sexual assault received trauma counseling;
-- 315 children, including victims of child abuse/neglect and those with general mental health issues, received counseling; and
-- a Lethality Assessment Protocol in partnership with the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Department was implemented to identify and assist high-risk domestic violence victims.