By Gail Wadsworth
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. The Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers appreciate this opportunity to ensure everyone is aware their county Clerk’s office is accessible as a local resource to community members who are both directly and indirectly affected by domestic violence year-round.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were more than 106,000 cases of domestic violence reported in Florida last year. Alarming as that is, the numbers only increase when factoring in the countless incidents of domestic violence that go unreported by victims.
In order to eradicate this senseless violence, we must hold ourselves accountable to take action within Flagler County in hopes of improving these statistics. We need to forego the “comfort zone” and the “it’s none of my business” mindset, and, instead, commit to never remaining silent upon experiencing, witnessing or hearing about incidents of domestic violence.
It is important that we remain vigilant in serving as advocates and support systems for victims, while we continue working to put an end to domestic violence at home. Florida’s Court Clerks strive to be a dependable resource to victims and witnesses, and are keenly sensitive to the needs of domestic violence survivors. We approach these cases with the seriousness and urgency they deserve and are committed to assisting victims, with complete confidentiality and discretion, throughout the entire process of filing reports and connecting victims with advocates.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please contact your local Clerk’s office, the Family Life Center 24 hour Hotline (386) 437-3505, or the statewide Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119, both have trained advocates available 24/7.
Domestic violence affects all Floridians and the Florida Court Clerks are determined to protect community members and lend a helping hand for those in need of domestic violence assistance. We work very closely with local law enforcement and the Family Life Center to ensure that both safety and justice are achieved for victims and their families when a domestic violence incident occurs.
Especially during this month, help us to raise awareness, educate the public and spread the message that domestic violence is never justified. Visit FLClerks.com for contact information for all of Florida’s 67 Clerks’ Offices and for more details on how your local Clerk can help!
Gail Wadsworth is the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller in Flagler County.