Domestic Violence on the Rise During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Throughout the state of Florida, as the number of COVID-19 cases and death toll increases, the number of domestic violence cases also rose. Unless someone is an essential worker, many families are now spending their days together and, if there was already a history of domestic abuse, the situation likely worsened under these novel and stressful circumstances. Other factors that may be contributing to this alarming surge is excessive alcohol consumption combined with the stress of being out of work.
Unfortunately, many of the available hotlines have not seen an increase in calls, which is likely due to the fact that domestic abuse victims may be closely watched and unable to find a way to safely reach out for help.
Defining Domestic Violence
In Florida, domestic violence occurs when one assaults, batters, sexually assaults, sexually batters, stalks, kidnaps, falsely imprisons, or commits any other criminal offense that results in injury or death to a household or family member.
Florida defines household or family members as the following:
- Former or current spouse
- An individual related by marriage or blood
- An individual who formerly or currently resides in the home as a family
- Parents who have children in common, regardless of marital status
Victims of abuse can petition the court to request an injunction for protection against their abuser. You may receive a temporary injunction, which can provide immediate protection if a judge believes you are in imminent danger, even if your abuser did not partake in the hearing.
Below are some of the protections an injunction may provide:
- Exclusive use of a shared dwelling
- Temporary support for you or any minor children you have until its expiration date
- Order the abuser to participate in counseling services, treatment, or intervention
- Other relief a judge deems necessary to keep you safe
The penalties for violating injunctions can be severe and can potentially include jail time and a steep fine. For example, aggravated stalking is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and 5 years in prison. Considering the nature of these situations, your case may still be heard by a judge, despite court closures.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Compassionate Family Law Attorney Today!
If you are in an abusive situation, it is crucial to take action to obtain the protection you need to keep you and your family safe. At Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office, our compassionate family law attorney has the skill and experience to effectively guide you through this process to ensure you receive the protection you need during this overwhelming time. Domestic abuse is never an easy situation to deal with, even during normal circumstances, and COVID-19 appears to be aggravating it. You can rely on us to provide the legal support and advice you need to get through it.
Reach out to our law office today at (727) 312-1112 to set up an initial consultation with our family law attorney. We will answer your questions via phone or email, so do not hesitate to contact us.