Domestic Violence-The Orlando Times
New Funding Will Help Families And Domestic Violence Victims In Florida
BY DEVIN HEFLIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
CENTRAL FLORIDA - Thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Central Florida domestic violence victims will be receiving extra assistance as they work to escape abuse.
The grant will soon help to pay for a staff of four attorneys at Harbor House, along with additional victim advocates.
“If we’re meeting with somebody, helping with an injunction piece, but then we realize they (also) need a safety plan or they need to go to the shelter, we can have them go talk to one of the advocates,” attorney Monica Victorica said.
Harbor House CEO Michelle Sperzel said her organization saw an uptick in hotline calls after Hurricane Irma and she expected another increase during the holidays.
“Kids are off (from) school and the abuse has been happening, but it might escalate because everyone is together,” she said.
“The help is there,” she said. “The support is there. If you need it, you can get it.”
Domestic Violence often assumes many facets and morphs from many factors. Men abusing women, women abusing men and men and women abusing children are some of the actions which fit the definition of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.” A statement from the group said.
The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline.
Statistics indicate that those who grew up in a household of domestic violence are two-thirds more likely to become domestic abusers themselves. Another contributing factor psychologically is the often diagnosed, but untreated fits of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.
The Hispanic community leads in domestic violence cases, by fifty-four percent, followed by whites, at fifty-one percent and trailed by the Black community which comprises a decreasing forty-six percent.
Men also account for forty-one percent of domestic violence victims.
By the Numbers
By 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with National Coalition Against Domestic Violence providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In 2016, 105,668 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies resulting in 63,193 arrests. During fiscal year 2015-2016, Florida's certified domestic violence centers provided 600,621 nights of emergency shelter to 16,362 survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Advocates created 113,907 tailored safety plans, provided a total of 412,454 hours of advocacy and counseling services, and received 122,999 domestic violence hotline calls from individual seeking emergency services, information, and safety planning assistance.
Many more survivors of domestic violence are not reporting their abusers to the police or accessing services at domestic violence services due to reasons such as shame, fear, or being prevented from doing so by their abusers. For this reason, we may never know the true extent of abuse in our country and in our state.
Within the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the agency has developed action based modules for families which experience domestic violence.
They have on-hand psychologists which counsel families encountering trauma by way of domestic violence, shelters on call that can take women and children and provides outreach to incarcerated survivors of domestic violence.
Harbor House of Central Florida and the Safe House of Central Florida are both Orlando based organizations that offer shelter to survivors of abuse.
“It is estimated that there are 3.3 to 10 million children who witness the abuse of a parent or adult care giver each year. A majority of the studies done on the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment reveal that there are adult and child victims in 30 to 60 percent of families experiencing domestic violence.” a statement from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence said.