Reports to police of spouse abuse more than doubled from 327 to 665 in Prince George's County between 1982 and 1984, chiefly because of improved reporting procedures and a growing awareness of the problem, members of a county task force on domestic violence reported yesterday.
Joining the task force at a news conference yesterday, County Executive Parris Glendening said that, in line with recommendations made by the group in February, he is proposing a first-time county allocation of $41,000 to the 1985-86 budget for the county's Family Crisis Center in Brentwood.
It currently has annual operating expenses of about $250,000, which are covered by state and private funding.
Glendening said he also will endorse other task force recommendations designed to increase awareness of spouse abuse.
"The 17 recommendations you see before you are scratching the surface of the problem," said John Rhoads, the former county police chief who headed the task force.
"The problem is almost overwhelming," he said. "Probably one in three families, no matter where you go but specifically in urban environments . . . has some sort of domestic violence intertwined in that family."
Among other things, the task force recommends:
* Next year, the county police department establish a special family violence unit that would coordinate county services and refer victims of reported abuse to other agencies.
* The state's attorney's office give pretrial assistance to victims through a domestic violence program.
* State legislation be introduced that would amend the spousal immunity statute in court testimony and that would allow a police officer to make an arrest without a warrant in a suspected domestic violence case.
* The county enhance its computerized criminal reporting system and publish timely data about reported incidents.
* A coordinating committee be appointed to oversee the several agencies responsible for monitoring domestic violence.
Glendening said he will implement most of the recommendations contained in the report.
Rhoads stressed that although the reported number of such incidents is increasing, the actual incidence of domestic violence and spouse abuse may not be.
"Now they know there's somewhere to turn, so all of a sudden they become a statistic," he said.
The Family Crisis Center, located in a former elementary school, has provided counseling services and shelter to battered women and their children since 1983. About $100,000 to $125,000, half its annual operating funds, has been derived from a $15 surcharge added to state marriage license fees in Prince George's.