This booklet is designed to help those who want to be free from domestic violence. It describes the legal protection that is available in Maryland for victims of abuse and explains the process for getting that protection. Domestic violence is a crime and Maryland law provides both criminal and civil means for victims of abuse to get protection. Many victims feel that their spouse or partner has the right to abuse them or that they must live with violence. The first step to confronting an abusive relationship is to recognize that such violence is unacceptable. In addition to an overview of your legal protections, including the legal petitions that abused or battered people may file to gain court-ordered protection, this booklet provides in its Appendix a list of domestic violence programs throughout the State of Maryland.