Domestic Violence cases are some of the most important cases handled by the Office of the State Attorney. This office has prosecutors and specialists who are trained specifically in the area of domestic violence. It is our policy to aggressively prosecute these cases to ensure the families we serve are safe and that justice is served.
What is Domestic Violence?
“Domestic violence” is defined in Florida Statute 741.28 as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
“Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
Warning Signs & Traits
Anyone can be an abuser. They come from all groups, all cultures, all religions, all economic levels, and all backgrounds. They can be your neighbor, your pastor, your friend, your child's teacher, a relative, a coworker - anyone. It is important to note that the majority of abusers are only violent with their current or past intimate partners.
There are things that your partner may do that are considered “red flags.” They can help you decide if you are in a potentially dangerous relationship.
The Cycle & Why Victims Stay
The power and control wheel and the post-separation power and control wheel are helpful tools in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors used by abusers to establish and maintain control over their partners both within and following a relationship.
A victim’s reasons for staying with their abusers are extremely complex. In most cases, it is based on the reality that their abuser will follow through with the threats they have made against them, their children, family members or pets. The threats can vary from threats of physical violence, loss of custody of children and financial hardships. The victim knows their abuser and fully knows the extent to which the abuser will go to maintain control over them. The victim literally may not be able to safely escape or protect those they love. Here is a list of reasons why a victim might stay in an abusive relationship:
Effects On Children
Domestic violence is a learned behavior. As children grow up and learn about right and wrong, they learn the most from the people who are closest to them, usually their parents. Children need to understand that violent behavior is NOT okay, and that it is NOT a way to deal with frustration and anger. Domestic violence can have a mental, physical and social effect on children exposed. They can show signs of anger, depression, guilt, low self-esteem, overreact to little things, and will do negative things for attention. They tend to have the “don’t care” attitude and get in trouble at school. They often have a hard time making and keeping friends. They show signs of headaches, stomachaches, eating disorders, difficulty sleeping, drug and alcohol abuse, and act out violently towards classmates and siblings.
If you have concerns about the safety of a child please call the Child Abuse Registry hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or make a report online at the Department of Children and Families.
Abusers are not predictable, and every case of domestic violence is different. Planning may help keep you and your children safe. Contact your local domestic violence center or call 1-800-500-1119 to speak to an advocate to make your personal safety plan. Here are some things that you can consider:
The information on this page was gathered from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.