ORLANDO, Fla. — New statistics show that more people are reaching out for domestic violence help in two Central Florida counties.
Calls for service are up 10% in Volusia County over this same time last year, and the number is even higher in Orange County where domestic violence calls are up 13%.
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Domestic violence advocates say there is a silver lining to these numbers in that it means more victims are taking the next step and asking for help.
In Volusia County, Sheriff Mike Chitwood’s deputies have responded to over 1,000 domestic violence calls this year alone.
“They’re extremely dangerous situations,” Chitwood said.
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Lisa Alexander said her nonprofit, Stand Up Survivor, gets over a dozen calls from victims every day, and she sees the new statistics as potentially promising.
“We’re asking survivors to call the hotline, were asking them to report,” she said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has investigated and referred more domestic violence cases to the state attorney’s office this year compared to last, and that’s on top of the arrests they make during day-to-day calls.
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Alexander said that’s a critical first step in protecting victims from further violence.
“If they are charged and they do go to jail it gives the survivor the space to breathe and figure out what they want to do for their life moving forward,” she said.
According to Alexander, a victim returns to their abuser an average of seven times before they leave because they don’t have the resources or financial ability to separate. That’s where the Orange County Sheriffs Office said partnerships between law enforcement and advocacy agencies can make the biggest difference.
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Channel 9 reached out to other counties across Central Florida to see if the trend continues across the area. Seminole County said it is working on getting us the numbers, Brevard County said they’ve seen a decrease in domestic violence calls for service and we’re waiting to hear back from Osceola County.
If you are in a relationship and may be in danger, there are resources available. You can reach Florida’s domestic violence hotline at 1-800-500-1119. Someone will pick up the phone any time, day or night.
Read: Orange County Clerk’s Office helps those affected by domestic violence
Additional resources include:
- StandUp Survivor 24/7 survivor hotline : 321-430-5307
- Harbor House: 407-886-2856
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1800-799-7233
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