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Dating and Domestic Violence 

What is Domestic Violence?

Under the provisions of Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes, domestic violence means 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. Family or household members are 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. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

What is Dating Violence?

Under the provisions of Section 784.046 of the Florida Statutes, dating violence is violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of the following factors:

  • A dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months;
  • The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  • The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

Dating & Domestic Violence may include:

  • Physical Abuse—Pushing, slapping, kicking, punching, choking, and beating
  • Emotional/Verbal Abuse—Verbal intimidation, credible threats, following and stalking, acting out in anger
  • Sexual Abuse or Battery—Any unwanted touching or forcing of someone to engage in a sexual act against his or her will

If YOU are being abused by a spouse or partner:

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Contact the UPD at 904-620-2800 to file a report.
  • If you are hurt call 911 or a friend and get to a hospital as soon as possible.
  • Contact the Victim’s Advocate at 904-620-1010 (24-hour Crisis Helpline)
  • Contact the Counseling Center at 904-620-2602 (after hours wait for the voice prompt and select option 2)
  • Plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship and pack an escape bag. A victim advocate can help you to do this.

If SOMEONE YOU KNOW is being abused by a spouse or partner:

  • Don’t be afraid to offer help.
  • Suggest that the victim speaks with the Victim’s Advocate (904-620-1010) and make the call for them if necessary.
  • Approach the victim in an understanding, non-blaming way.
  • Acknowledge that it is scary and difficult to talk about domestic violence.
  • Share information about local resources. All of this information may be obtained from the Victim’s Advocate.
  • Support the victim as a friend.
  • Ask if they have suffered any physical harm. Go with them to the hospital to check for injuries.
  • Help the victim report the assault to the police and inform the victim about legal protection. The Victim’s Advocate can help you do this.
  • Help the victim plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive relationship.

 Power and Control Wheel image


Power and Control Wheel

Using Intimidation
Making you afraid by using looks, gestures, actions – smashing things – abusing pets – displaying weapons - using looks, gestures, actions to reinforce control – standing in front of the door or exit

Using Emotional Abuse
Putting you down – making you feel bad about yourself – calling you names – playing mind games – making you feel guilty – humiliating you – questioning your identity – reinforcing internalized phobias and isms

Using Isolation
Controlling what you do, who you see or talk to – limiting your outside activities – making you account for your whereabouts – saying no one will believe you – not letting you go anywhere alone

Denying, Minimizing, Blaming
Making light of abuse – saying it didn’t happen – shifting responsibly – saying it’s your fault, you deserve it, accusing you of “mutual abuse” - saying its just fighting, not abuse – accusing you of “making” them abuse you

Using Children
Making your feel guilty about children – using children to relay messages – threatening to take the children – tell you that you have no parental rights – threatening to tell your ex or the authorities to take your children

Using Privilege
Threatening to make you a servant – making all the “big” decisions – being the one to define the rules or duties in the relationship – using privilege or ability discredit you, cut off access to resources or use the system against you – knowing “what’s best” for you

Using Economic Abuse
Preventing you from getting or keeping a job – making you ask for money – interfering with work or education – taking your credit cards without permission – not working and requiring you to provide support – keeping your name off joint assets

Using Coercion and Threats
Making and/or carry out threats to do something to harm you - threatening to leave or commit suicide - driving recklessly to frighten you – threatening others who are important to you – stalking

(Dashes are stars on the wheel)