Domestic Violence

The problem of domestic and relationship violence on college campuses and in our country is of great concern. Each year, thousands of people are injured, threatened and even killed as a result of violence perpetrated by someone the victim knows. Because of the scope of this problem the University of Florida Police Department provides a Crime Victim Advocate. The Advocate’s role is to assist anyone who is the victim of a crime while on campus, particularly violent crime. The advocate can be reached 24 hours a day by calling the police department at 392-1111. To help curb this problem here are some steps you can take.

Seven Steps to Escape Domestic Violence

1. GET TO A SAFE PLACE !
It’s a crime to threaten or hit another person. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have the right to protect yourself and to expect help from others.

Don’t stay in your home. Doing nothing solves nothing. Go to a friend, neighbor, or relative.

Temporary shelter is available for battered persons, even those with children. The important thing is to get to a safe place as quickly as possible!

2. CALL THE POLICE !
If you are in an abusive relationship, you cannot control the situation; therefore it is important to report any assault or battery to the police or sheriff’s department by calling 9-1-1 immediately.

In Florida, officers will arrest a batterer if there are any physical signs of injury or there is reason to believe violence has or will occur. The sooner you report a battering the better. By allowing others to become involved you are helping yourself, and helping the batterer.

3. FOLLOW THROUGH !
Once a report to the police is made the legal process will begin. The victim advocate will aid you at each step and explain what will happen.

Once you have made the step to report abuse, stick with it. There are many people and agencies available to help you.

4. DON’T BELIEVE… “I’ll NEVER HIT AGAIN”
Criminal prosecution and/or civil action (divorce or separation) are options for any battered person. Often the batterer is unable to admit there is a problem. Counseling is only helpful if both partners want help and are motivated to work together. If the abuse is habitual or extremely violent, the batterer may need long term therapy.

Information on counseling and therapy for a victim or batterer is available through referrals from the Crime Victim Advocate.

5. CONSIDER YOUR FUTURE SAFETY
If the batterer refuses to seek help, it is unlikely the beatings will stop. Statistics show the beatings will become more and more severe. Protect yourself.

The Victim Advocate can assist you in obtaining a restraining order requiring your batterer to stay away from you, your residence, and your workplace.

6. LOOK FOR HELP !
You’re not alone. There are many places in Alachua County where a battered person may seek help. If you are planning to set up a separate residence, do some planning in advance and locate resources to support you in the first few weeks. Check with private social service agencies, churches or the battered women’s shelters.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help!

7. PROVIDE FOR THE FUTURE !
Even if you’ve never worked before, you can become self-supporting.

Community education classes are open to those who would like to complete high school or who want to learn job-related skills.

Assistance such as help with registration, academic counseling, support groups, and childcare is also available for men and women returning to school for further education. Contact a counselor at your community college.

You can receive support from a University of Florida Police Department’s Victim Advocate with regard to all aspects of victimization and recovery to include:

* Crisis counseling
* Support in court appearances
* Information about your case
* Property return assistance
* Assistance during court proceedings
* Witness waiting room
* Referral to community agencies
* State victim compensation assistance
* Restraining Order assistance

Remember you are not alone. Domestic and relationship violence is dangerous and won’t just go away. Seek help and protect yourself from violence

For further information on this or others safety topics please contact the University of Florida Police Department’s Community Services Division at (352) 392-1409