DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A Survival Guide for Victims

As your State Attorney, I am concerned about the problem of Domestic Violence experienced by many couples.  If you are hit, kicked, slapped, bruised, injured, or forced by your partner to do something you do not want to do, you are the victim of Domestic Violence. I encourage you to read this page which gives you information about your rights and guides you to
resources for assistance with your community

Please consider these statistics: (Informafion provided by the Governors Task Force on Domestic Violence.)

Domestic Violence is the nations most underreported crime.
Domestic Violence is the single major cause of injury to women, more frequent than auto accidents, rapes and muggings.
30% of all women homicide victims were killed by their husband, ex-husband, or boyfriend..
My office has prosecutors and victim/witness counselors who are trained in the area of domestic violence. Please contact them with any questions or concerns you have about your individual situation.

REMEMBER: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A CRIME AND
HELP IS AVAILABLE TO THOSE WHO SEEK IT

Sincerely,


Brad King, State Attorney
Fifth Judicial Circuit


INTRODUCTION

Have you been the victim of violence by the person you are or were married to, or by someone with whom you have had an intimate relationship?  If you have, this handbook may be important to you.  Please read it.

If you have been hit, kicked, slapped, beaten, punched, shoved, bruised or injured in any way, you
are a victim of Domestic Violence.  If you are made to do something against your will by force or if you are threatened with violence, you are being abused. Domestic Violence, Family Violence, Domestic Assault, Battery and Spouse Abuse are all terms which describe the problem of physical, sexual or emotional abuse of another person.

Most victims of abuse experience feelings of embarrassment, fear, helplessness, anger or guilt.  Victims often feel as if they are to blame for the acts of violence against them and feel responsible for the behavior of the abuser.  Victims often feel responsible for what may happen to the abuser if they report the crime.

These feelings often prevent victims from seeking assistance and taking action to stop the abusive
 behavior.  Victims of Domestic Violence must also cope with financial problems, the breakup of the family, its impact on the children and the pressure from other family members.  These concerns make it very difficult for many victims to escape from an abusive situation.

In many cases the abuser promises to change and apologizes for his behavior.  Unless help is sought, most abusers are unable to change and the cycle of violence continues.

This booklet offers you, the victim, information about your rights and guides you to resources for assistance.

No one has the right to hit, kick, slap, injure or force another person to do something they do not want to do.

ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE

The State Attorney's Office has a staff of Victim/Witness Counselors available to assist and support you.  The services available to you are:

  • Guidance and support through thejudicial process.
  • Assistance in seeking shelter for you and your children.
  • Crisis Intervention Counseling.
  • Information and assistance in filing for protective injunctions.
  • Referral to social service agencies which may be of assistance to you.

Please call the following numbers for assistance: 

Citrus County          (352) 341-6670

Hernando County   (352) 754-4255

Lake County            (352) 742-4236

Marion County        (352) 671-5800

Sumter County       (352) 569-6650

THE BATTERING CYCLE

Phase I - Tension Building
Tension begins to rise and builds to the point of violence. The abuser becomes edgy and more prone to react negatively to frustrations and ceases to respond to any controls, The abuser may use alcohol as an excuse to abuse. The victim either accepts the coming violence as inevitable or will seek help to prevent the violence.

Phase II - Battering
This is the shortest phase.  The abuser regains control only after the victim has "learned" a lesson.  The victim responds to the pain and terror by becoming emotionally detached; fighting back usually increases the violence.  The police are frequently called during this phase.

Phase III - Loving, Contrite (Honeymoon Phase)
Tension is decreased for the couple.  The abuser behaves in a contrite, loving manner, while denying the extent of pain and fear the victim experienced.  The victim is blamed for the abuser's past anger.  Promises are made not to be violent again and forgiveness is asked.  If it is not forthcoming, Phase I begins immediately.  If the victim does forgive the abuser and believes the promises, there is a period of calm (quiet time) before Phase I begins again.

The Battering Cycle occurs in most but not all battering relationships.

A small number of shelter residents report the absence of Phase II.  They report the abuser has never said he was sorry nor has he ever promised to end the abuse. They do not report a "quiet time" before Phase I begins again.


WHY DO I STAY?

  • Promises of change - Men have the power to persuade and convince especially during the "honeymoon" phase.
  • Feelings of guilt - "I feel ashamed and guilty.  I feel I should be responsible for making things change."
  • Lack of money, job skills, day care, housing - "How can I manage?"
  • Religious beliefs - "The church encourages me to make my marriage work."
  • Lack of self esteem - "How can I believe in myself when he has convinced me that I am no good?"
  • Love - "When he is calm I really love the batterer and I let my emotions take control over common sense."
  • "I have become a prisoner of pain, growing more and more numb with each physical and psychological beating."


HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE CHILDREN?

  • They become innocent victims raised in a training ground of violence.
  • All children in violent homes are emotionally abused. Although mothers are very protective of children, they often are emotionally unavailable or "tuned out" about their children's needs.
  • Children often confuse violence with love.
  • They are at high risk for alcohol/drug abuse, sexual acting out, running away, isolation, loneliness, fear.
  • There is a tendency for delinquent behavior, suicide attempts and even thoughts of murdering parents to stop the fighting.
  • Girls who marry early to escape abusive homes often end up in abusive marriages.
  • Over 50% of children growing up in abusive homes become victims or abusers as adults.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE ...
OTHERS SHARE YOUR PROBLEM

Domestic Violence is a part of many womens lives.  You no longer have to feel like no one understands.  You do not deserve to be abused and you are not responsible for your
partners abusive behavior.


WHAT EMERGENCY MEASURES CAN I TAKE TO
PROTECT MYSELF AND MY CHILDREN

Making a safe home for yourself and your children may seem like the impossible dream.  It will be difficult, but not impossible.  You can do it one step at a time.  Helpful and understanding people are available throughout the community to help insure your safety in times of crisis.  Also, new legal options are available to protect and assist you with greater efficiency.

Once physical violence begins in a relationship, the violence almost always recurs.  Remember that violence occurs in cycles: 1) tension building, 2) blow up, and 3) the honeymoon phase where women believe the promise that "It willnever happen again".

DO NOT LET YOUR HOPE FOR RELIEF GET IN THE WAY OF PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM FURTHER ABUSE.


WHAT CAN I DO BEFORE AN ATTACK?

Make contacts and build support systems in the community by contacting area Spouse Abuse Shelters or the Victim/Witness Assistance Program.
Tell your family and friends about the violence. 

DO NOT LET YOUR PARTNER ISOIATE YOU FROM THOSE WHO CAN BE OF HELP TO YOU IN THE FUTURE.
Have quick access to the following items:

  1. This handbook
  2. Important telephone numbers and addresses
  3. Cash
  4. Change of clothes for you and your children
  5. Keys
  6. Important personal documents: medical and income records (Birth Certificates, Protective Injunctions, Tax Returns, etc.)
  7. Blank checks, savings books

Plan ahead and think how your partner usually prevents you from leaving and be prepared for that.

  • Trust your instincts.  When a violent episode is imminent, leave before the attack happens.
  • You can get assistance from the police if you want to leave and your partner will not let you.  You will not be required to press charges and usually the police will standby while you pack a few personal belongings and go. There is no fee for this service which is provided by all law enforcement agencies.
  • If it is too dangerous to spend time getting your personal belongings, be aware that these things can be recovered later after you have obtained a protective injunction.  Many community agencies can provide you with emergency food, clothing and shelter. (See Directory of Community Referrals).


AFTER AN ATTACK WHAT SHOULD I DO?

WHAT WILL HAPPPEN TO MY SPOUSE?

  • Save the evidence (weapons, blood stained articles, damaged property, your written description of what happened).
  • If you are injured seek medical attention.
  • Move out or go to a safe place for you and your children.
  • Have someone take photographs of your injuries immediately after the assault and during the healing process.
  • If your spouse is arrested he will be taken into custody and charged with a criminal offense.
  • Remember, the abuser will probably be eligible to bond out of jiail and may do so immediately.

REMEMBER, most abusers become more violent over time. Beatings tend to become more severe and more frequent and most abusers promise to stop the violence.  However, they will not or can not stop without skilled intervention. Even though you may be afraid, TAKE ACTION NOW!  Your safety and the safety of your children may depend on your plan of action.

VIOLENCE DOES NOT STOP UNTIL THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE ABUSER ... IF YOU WANT TO HELP HIM (AND YOURSELF TOO) YOU MUST TAKE THE FIRST ACTION!!

PRO-PROSECUTION POLICY

The State Attorney's Office has a pro-prosecution policy in Domestic Violence cases.  It is the responsibility of the State Attorney's Office to determine if criminal charges will be filed against someone for an act of domestic violence.  Victims of crime can not file charges and they cannot drop charges.  The Assistant State Attorney assigned to handle the case will make the final decision, however, victims are encouraged to discuss their individual case with the prosecutor and victim/witness counselor.

REMEMBER: FLORIDA LAW MANDATES THAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BE TREATED AS A CRIME AND NOT A PRIVATE OR FAMILY MATTER.


INJUNCTIONS FOR PROTECTION

You may file a petition for an Injunction for Protection through the Clerk of the Court.  The petition entitles you to request that a judge order someone to refrain from acts of violence or harassment.  You may also petition the court for custody of minor children, exclusive use of the residence, child support, specified child visitation, and any other court ordered directives that may be appropriate.  A judge will review your petition, hold a hearing and determine what will be ordered in your individual case.Some violations of an Injunction for Protection are subject to criminal prosecution.  If you have an Injunction for Protection and believe it has been violated, please contact the Clerk of the Court for instructions on filing an affidavit alleging that a violation has occurred. Law Enforcement should also be contacted if you feel a crime has been committed or if you are in danger.

(Please contact the Clerk of the Court for additional information concerning injunctions for protection.)


WHERE CAN THE VICTIM GET HELP?

You do not have to tolerate physical abuse.  There are people and agencies willing to help you and your children. The following is a Domestic Violence Assistance Directory for Citrus, Lake, Sumter, Hernando and Marion County. if you are in need of resources not listed in this directory, please contact the Victim/Witness Counselor in your county.

This brochure is directed to women as victims and men as abusers.  However, assistance is available to men who may be victims and women can be prosecuted for Domestic Violence.

Citrus County


Citrus County Sheriff's Department   (352) 726-4488
Crystal River Police Department         (352) 795-4241
Inverness Police Department              (352) 726-2121
These Law Enforcement agencies are available 24 hours a day to investigate allegations of Domestic Violence and provide assistance to victims.

Citrus Abuse Shelter Association   (352) 344-8111 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Shelter care services for women and children
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Assistance in seeking medical care
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions

Marion/Citrus Mental Health Center (352) 628-5020

Group, individual and family therapy
Substance abuse counseling
Emergency services

Ocala Domestic Violence Center (352) 622-8495 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Provides shelter care services for women and children
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence offender counseling
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions
Assistance in seeking medical care

Marion County


Marion County Sheriff's Department      (352) 732-8181
Ocala Police Department                          (352) 369-7000
Dunnellon Police Department                 (352) 465-8510
Belleview Police Department                   (352) 245-7044
These Law Enforcement agencies are available 24 hours a day to investigate allegations of Domestic Violence and provide assistance to victims.

Ocala Domestic Violence Center (352) 622-8495 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Provides shelter care services for women and children
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence offender counseling
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions
Assistance in seeking medical care

Marion/Citrus Mental Health Center (352) 628-5020

Group, individual and family therapy
Substance abuse counseling
Emergency services

Citrus Abuse Shelter Association (352) 344-8111 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Shelter care services for women and children
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Assistance in seeking medical care
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions

Sumter County


Sumter County Sheriff's Department      (352) 793-2621
Bushnell Police Department                     (352) 793-6810
Center Hill Police Department                  (352) 793-4609
Coleman Police Department                     (352) 748-3000
Webster Police Department                      (352) 793-2072
Wildwood Police Department                   (352) 748-2671
These Law Enforcement agencies are available 24 hours a day to investigate allegations of Domestic Violence and provide assistance to victims.

Lake/Sumter Rape Crisis Center, Inc. (352) 483-2700 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Sexual assault counseling, education and awareness
Community referrals

Haven, Inc. (352) 753-5800 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Shelter aid and referral for battered spouses and children
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions

Ocala Domestic Violence Center (352) 622-8495 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Provides shelter care services for women and children
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence offender counseling
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions
Assistance in seeking medical care

Citrus Abuse Shelter Association (352) 344-8111 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Shelter care services for women and children
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Assistance in seeking medical care
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions

Hernando County


Hernando County Sheriff's Department    (352) 754-6850
Brooksville Police Department                    (352) 754-6800
These Law Enforcement agencies are available 24 hours a day to investigate allegations of Domestic Violence and provide assistance to victims.

Dawn Center (352) 799-0657

Domestic Violence counseling
Rape Crisis counseling
Referral for legal services
Group counseling
Assistance in seeking shelter care

Hernando County Mental Health Center (352) 796-9496

Group counseling
Substance abuse counseling
Children's services
Sexual assault counseling

Citrus Abuse Shelter Association (352) 344-8111 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Shelter care services for women and children
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Assistance in seeking medical care
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions

Ocala Domestic Violence Center (352) 622-8495 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Provides shelter care services for women and children
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence offender counseling
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions
Assistance in seeking medical care

Lake County 


Lake County Sheriff's Department               (352) 343-2101
Astatula Police Department                          (352) 742-2422
Tavares Police Department                           (352) 742-6200
Clermont Police Department                         (352) 394-5588
Leesburg Police Department                         (352) 728-9860
Eustis Police Department                               (352) 483-5400
Fruitland Park Police Department                (352) 787-6060
Groveland Police Department                      (352) 429-4166
Mount Dora Police Department                   (352) 735-7130
Umatilla Police Department                          (352) 343-5100
Mascotte Police Department                         (352) 429-3341
Lady Lake Police Department                        (352) 753-3810
Minneola Police Department                         (352) 394-6869
Howey-In-The-Hills Police Department        (352) 343-6644
These Law Enforcement agencies are available 24- hours a day to investigate allegations of Domestic Violence and provide assistance to victims.

Lake/Sumter Rape Crisis Center, Inc. (352) 483-2700 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Sexual assault counseling, education and awareness
Community referrals

Haven, Inc. (352) 753-5800 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Shelter aid and referral for battered spouses and children
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions

Lake/Sumter Community Mental Health Center (352) 787-9178

Group, individual family counseling
Substance abuse counseling

Ocala Domestice Violence Center (352) 622-8495 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Provides shelter care services for women and children
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence offender counseling
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions
Assistance in seeking medical care

Citrus Abuse Shelter Association (352) 344-8111 (24 hour HOTLINE)

Shelter care services for women and children
Community referrals
Court accompaniment
Sexual assault counseling
Domestic Violence counseling for victims
Assistance in seeking medical care
Assistance in seeking protective injunctions

ADDITIONAL NUMBERS WHICH MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE TO YOU!


D.C.F. Child Abuse Registry (1-800-96-ABUSE)

Accepts complaints of child abuse and refers case to an D.C.F. Protective Investigator for follow up assistance

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Domestic Violence HOTLINE  (1-800-333-SAFE)

Provides crisis counseling, information and referrals (national and local) to those who call this number. Provides printed materials upon request.