About Domestic Violence

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About Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

The term "domestic violence" is defined in Florida to mean any assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another, who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit.

Who may apply for a court order or injunction against domestic violence?

Only a "family or household member" may. A "family or household member" includes a spouse, former spouse, 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 have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever been married or have resided together anytime.

What should I do if I am threatened with domestic violence?

Your first priority is to ensure your physical safety. Leave the situation as quickly and safely as you can. Go to a neighbor's, friend's or extended family member's home until emotions subside. If you do not have any of these support networks available to you, familiarize yourself with the agencies available in our community. If removing yourself from the situation is not possible, call 911 for emergency help. Give the 911 operator your name, address and telephone number and tell him or her what is happening or has happened.

What is the effect of domestic violence on my children?

Studies show the effect on children who witness physical violence between parents is more damaging to the children than being physically abused themselves. This is because children, especially young children, feel helpless to intervene or protect the abused parent. Children who are exposed to domestic violence learn that violence is an acceptable method for solving problems. These children tend to grow up to be adults who will physically abuse others, or allow themselves to be abused. For more information on domestic violence, visit What We Do in this website.

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