In Florida, domestic violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” 741.28(2) Although most domestic violence occurs within dating or romantic relationships, domestic violence includes violence between “spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.” Domestic violence is prevalent in every state and community and has lasting ramifications on the victims and their families. Our Tallahassee Attorneys at the Virga Law Firm are aware of these unfortunately common actions and are here to help. If you or your children are in a situation where domestic violence has occurred, we can ensure you are protected and will discuss with you your options regarding your family situation.
In the United States, it is reported that domestic violence occurs to 20 individuals every minute. (1) This totals to about 10 million domestic violence victims annually. (2) Over an American’s lifetime, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience some form of domestic violence; with most individuals experiencing domestic violence between the ages of 18 and 34. (3) (4) Finally, of all the crimes reported in the United States, domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes. (5)
Although domestic violence only accounts for the actions between adults, these criminal actions also have severe effects on children who witness such actions. Studies show, that more than 5 million children have been exposed to domestic violence in America, and of those children who have witness such violence, 1 in 3 of them were also victims of child abuse. (6) After experiencing such child abuse or witnessing domestic violence, children had a tendency to exhibit symptoms of generalized anxiety, sleeplessness, aggression, difficulty concentrating, nightmares, and separation anxiety. (7) Additionally, children who witness domestic violence were three times more likely to engage in violent behavior and are more likely to engage in similar abusive relationships in the future. (8) (9) (10)
On a more local level, statistics are unfortunately similar to the nationwide standards. Overall, 34.2% female Floridians and 24.6% male Floridians have experienced domestic violence at some point in their life. (11) In Florida, 108,030 domestic violence incidents were reported in a single year, with 170 of those domestic violence incidents resulting in a death. (12) Further, while other crime rates continue to decrease around the state, domestic violence rates steadily remain unchanged. (13)
These numbers are staggering, and we understand the sensitive and emotional level this type of violence brings to a family law matter. However, we at the Virga Law Firm are here to help and protect you in your future.
Speaking to an attorney at our Tallahassee office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.
- Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J. & Stevens, M. (2011). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2010 summary report.
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Infographic based on data from the national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (nisvs): 2010-2012 state report.
- Catalano, S. (2012). Intimate partner violence, 1993-2010.
- Truman, J. L. & Morgan, R. E. (2014). Nonfatal domestic violence, 2003-2012.
- Hamby, S, Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Ormrod, R. (2011); Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (n.d.). Children and domestic violence.
- Stith, S. M., Rosen, K. H., Middleton, K. A., Busch, A. L., Lundeberg, K., & Carlton, R. P. (2000). The intergenerational transmission of spouse abuse: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(3), 640-65.
- Baldry, A.C. (2003); Bullying in schools and exposure to DV. Child Abuse and Neglect, 27(7), 713-732.
- Fantuzzo, J. W. & Mohr, W. K. (1999). Prevalence and effects of child exposure to domestic violence.
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement (2013). 2013 Annual Uniform Crime Report.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner by state of residence