Domestic violence is one of the most serious family law issues in Florida. As the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence points out, under Florida law, many forms of domestic violence, such as assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping and false imprisonment, are criminal offenses if they result in injury to or the death of a family or household member.
All types of domestic violence are serious and represent a form of controlling behavior and/or activity perpetrated by one intimate partner against the other. They are not necessarily aimed at the partner directly and can be exhibited by using the partner’s children against her or him or harming the partner’s pets. Most domestic violence, however, is aimed directly at the partner and can include such diverse behaviors as the following:
- Unceasing name calling and taunts
- Extreme possessiveness and jealousy
- Hiding money and controlling household spending
- Isolating the partner from friends and family
- Threats of murder or suicide
- Insisting on unwanted sexual practices and/or sex on demand
Florida statutes and services
Chapter 741 of the Florida Statutes contains the laws applicable to domestic violence. Section 741.29 requires a law enforcement officer responding to a domestic violence call to assist the victim in obtaining any needed medical help and to advise her or him of the nearest domestic violence center where help is available. In addition, the law enforcement officer must give the victim a notice of her or his legal rights and the help that is available.
If the officer believes there is probable cause to arrest the alleged perpetrator, such arrest can be made without the consent of the victim. Whether or not an arrest is made, the officer must file a written police report clearly indicating that the alleged offense was a domestic violence incident. If there was no arrest, the officer must state his or her grounds for making that decision.
Florida operates a statewide toll-free domestic abuse hotline. Victims can call 1-800-500-1119 any hour of any day or night. All of the certified domestic violence centers provide victims with shelter as well as personal advocacy and confidential referrals to additional needed services.