IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE – YOU ARE NOT ALONE
October is Domestic Violence Prevention month and the men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office are committed to stopping violence in the home. Every nine seconds a woman is battered by her husband, boyfriend or live-in partner in the United States. Last year, Broward County experienced a 300% increase in domestic related homicides against women. As Sheriff of Broward County I am taking a stand against this violent trend.
When brutality includes family members or people involved in a relationship, it is termed as “domestic violence” – and it is against the law. Until recent years, domestic violence was considered a private family matter. That is no longer the case, especially in the eyes of law enforcement. Oftentimes victims do not realize they are in an abusive relationship. If your husband, boyfriend or partner does the following, you are being abused:
- is exceptionally moody or has a frightening temper
- prevents you from seeing your friends or family
- threatens to hurt or kill you, your children, your family, friends or pets
- yells at you, reprimands you or demeans you in public
- hits, slaps, pushes or shoves you, pulls your hair or inflicts physical injury on you in any way
- prevents you from getting or keeping a job
- keeps you from leaving the house or locks you out of the house
- does not allow you to know about family finances or keeps you in poverty
If you are a victim or you know someone who is a victim of domestic violence, there is help out there for you:
- If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1.
- BSO’s Victim Services Unit employs specially trained detectives to detect abusers that may victimize children, spouses, elders or the disabled. The unit also provides support and assistance to victims of domestic violence. BSO offers a free Domestic Violence Emergency Cell Phone program, which provides a lifeline to emergency services. For more information about BSO’s cell phone program or if you need assistance from the Victim Services Unit, please call 954.321.4200.
- Call Women in Distress at 954.761.1133 (available 24-hours a day) for emergency shelter and resources, counseling or ongoing needs. You may also visit www.womenindistress.com for additional information about the services they provide.
- You can report abuse against children or the elderly by calling 1.800.96.ABUSE.
- Often, pets need protection too. The C.A.R.E. (Companion Animal Rescue Effort) program provides shelter and care for animals, allowing families to go to safety without having to leave their pets behind. The animals are returned when the family has a safe place to live. For more information, contact Lt. Sherry Schlueter at 954.321.4239. If the situation is urgent, call 954.765.4321 and ask the duty officer to contact Lt. Schlueter immediately.
It goes without saying that any violent crime is unacceptable, but when crimes are committed by a family member or person of trust it is especially disturbing. If you are a victim, you are not alone – the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Women in Distress will help you.
For more information about domestic violence prevention, visit www.sheriff.org/domesticviolence.
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