Domestic violence is abuse used by one person in a relationship to control the other person. The abuse might be physical, or it might be sexual, emotional or psychological. A person who commits domestic violence might try to intimidate, threaten, humiliate or scare another person.
Domestic violence can also include hurting, isolating, sexual assault, sexual battery, kidnapping, stalking or terrorizing.
In Florida, more than 100,000 cases of domestic violence are reported each year. Statistics show that up to 25 percent of women will be the victim of domestic violence at least once in their lifetime.
Florida law states that the victim, their children and anyone else involved in domestic violence should be a priority. In order for domestic violence to take place, the parties involved must live together or have previously lived together. Family members can include spouses, ex-spouses or any other relative by blood or by marriage.
According to Florida law, a person who is convicted of domestic violence is required to serve at least five days in jail if bodily harm was intended. The courts have the option to give a longer sentence, or they can require probation or community service. If a person is convicted of a second or third-degree felony, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
If a victim of domestic abuse is in immediate danger, he or she can ask for a restraining order. Just because someone leaves a house because of domestic violence does not mean a restraining order can be filed. If a restraining order is granted, the person committing the violence cannot come within 500 feet of the home, school or job of the victim.
In Florida, if a person violates the restraining order, he can be required to serve up to a year in jail. If a victim feels the restraining order has been violated, she should call the court clerk or the police. Local law enforcement has 20 days to complete an investigation.
People who are victims of domestic violence should get help immediately. They can then end the abuse and get on with their life.