In Florida, the DCF (Department of Children and Families) is an organization that specializes in fighting for the rights of children and families, those suffering mental disorders, as well as protecting victims of abuse. They offer hotlines, foster programs, help filing for government support, as well as connections to abuse homes and online abuse/neglect reporting.
As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it seems like an appropriate time to talk about some of the cases they handle, as well as some of the tell-tale signs of domestic violence.
Statistics about domestic violence in Florida
In Florida, there are 42 certified domestic violence shelters, which operate 24 hours a day, offering services to those needing protection. In 2015, Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported that there were 107,666 incidences of domestic violence, leading to 66,276 arrests. The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline received 27,587 calls, and the 42 Florida domestic violence shelters housed 16,362 survivors and their children. Clearly domestic violence is a more common problem than some realize.
How to identify domestic violence
According to the Florida DCF, here are some questions you can use to find out whether you or someone you know is currently suffering domestic violence. Does the person in question:
- Isolate you from family and friends?
- Say things to insult you?
- Criticize your parenting skills?
- Take your money?
- Act as the primary decision-maker?
- Prevent you from developing your career?
- Physically harm you or threaten you with weapons?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Act like the way he/she treats you is your fault or you are over-exaggerating?
- Threaten to hurt your pets?
All of those can be signs of potential domestic violence, and if you or someone you know can say yes to any of those questions, it is worth getting in touch with someone who can help. Calling any of the hotlines on the Florida DCF’s web page can be a good place to start, as well as talking to a family law attorney in order to get an order of protection.
The most important thing is keeping yourself and those dependent on you safe, so make sure that you take every possible precaution to do so.