Cases of domestic violence should never go unreported. If you are the victim of domestic violence, the first step is to get to safety. Dial 9-1-1, the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119, or a local domestic violence organization, such as Beacon House in Daytona Beach, at 386-257-2297 for additional help and resources.
After getting to safety, contact an experienced domestic violence attorney in Jacksonville. They can help you take legal action and implement further protections for you and your family.
It has been reported that over 100,000 cases of domestic violence are reported in Florida each year. These are just the reported incidents, with thousands or more remaining unreported. While the situation is scary and overwhelming, domestic violence is illegal, and you have options.
At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, you can learn more about your rights as a victim of domestic violence and how Florida law can protect you.
Understanding Domestic Violence in Florida
Domestic violence in Florida is not limited to just physical abuse. It includes any act resulting in physical injury, sexual violence, stalking, kidnapping, or any criminal offense resulting in physical harm or death of a family or household member by another member.
While domestic violence can affect anyone regardless of age, race, or gender, it’s crucial to recognize the signs and know when to seek help.
Signs of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that often lurks behind closed doors. Recognizing its signs can be lifesaving. Here are common indicators:
- Physical Signs: Unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries, often attributed to “accidents.” Victims might wear clothing to cover these injuries, even in inappropriate weather.
- Emotional and Behavioral Changes: The victim may become withdrawn, anxious, or depressed. They might avoid social interactions or display unusual fear or anxiety when their partner is mentioned.
- Control and Jealousy: Abusers often exert control over their victims, monitoring their whereabouts, reading their messages, or isolating them from friends and family. Excessive jealousy is also a red flag.
- Verbal Abuse: Constant belittling, humiliation, and put-downs can indicate domestic violence.
- Economic Control: The abuser might restrict the victim’s access to money, making them financially dependent.
- Fear of Partner: Victims might seem unusually afraid of their partner or anxious about displeasing them.
- Frequent Absences: Absences from work, school, or social occasions without clear reasons can be a sign.
Consulting a Florida family law attorney can be a significant first step in understanding your rights and available legal options.
Protection Orders in Florida
One of the first legal steps victims often take is obtaining a protection order against the aggressor. In Florida, this is commonly called an “injunction for protection.”
- Temporary Injunction: Once an individual files a petition citing the reason for fear of domestic violence, the court might issue a temporary injunction. This is typically valid for up to 15 days until a full hearing can be held.
- Final Injunction: After a hearing, if the court believes the petitioner is in danger of becoming a victim, it may issue a final injunction. This can be in effect indefinitely, depending on the case’s specifics.
Child Custody and Domestic Violence
For parents, a major concern amidst the turmoil of domestic violence is the well-being of their children. Florida courts prioritize the child’s best interests, and a history of domestic violence can significantly impact child custody arrangements.
In many cases, the court might:
Limit the aggressor’s visitation rights.
- Require supervised visits.
- Order the abuser to undergo counseling or other treatments.
The expertise of a Florida family law attorney is invaluable in such situations, guiding you through the process to ensure your child’s safety.
Legal Separation and Divorce Proceedings
Florida laws are designed to protect the victim’s rights if you’re considering divorce or separation due to domestic violence. The victim’s safety and well-being determine alimony, asset division, and child support. Having a knowledgeable advocate by your side who can articulate your concerns and rights during these proceedings is essential.
Criminal Charges against the Aggressor
Domestic violence is not just a civil matter; it’s a criminal offense. Florida has stringent laws against perpetrators of domestic violence, ensuring they face criminal charges, which might include:
- Mandatory imprisonment for those convicted.
- Completion of a batterer’s intervention program.
- Community service hours.
Seeking Legal Help
Facing domestic violence is daunting, but remember: you are not alone. With the assistance of a Florida family law attorney, you can navigate the legal landscape more confidently. Griffin Family Law, PLLC is committed to providing compassionate, professional legal assistance to domestic violence victims.
We support, guide, and stand up for your rights. Domestic violence is a pressing issue that demands swift legal intervention. If you or someone you know is facing such a situation, don’t hesitate. Understand your rights, seek protection, and consult a professional to help you move forward toward a safer, better future.