Fatal Domestic Violence Rising in Florida

In 2009, Florida’s Uniform Crime Report showed that crime dropped in every major area, except for domestic violence, accounting for an astounding 41 percent of all violent crimes. The reason, said authorities, could be pinned to the bad economy. Rising unemployment, few job prospects and higher foreclosures caused friction in relationships that in some cases exploded into physical altercations or verbal battles.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there was a nearly 16 percent increase in domestic violence related murders and a 71 percent increase in domestic violence manslaughter from 2008 to 2009. In the ‘Sunshine State’, one out of every five murders was caused by domestic violence, authorities said.

In one case, a man who had lost his job assaulted his girlfriend, who filed charges against him. A few weeks later, the woman was forced off a Florida highway when the ex-boyfriend rammed her car from behind. He then got out of his car, walked over to the woman and stabbed her to death. The murder took place just a few days before a court hearing. Both families blamed the bad economy as a contributing factor in the death.

While violent assaults have increased and received the lion’s share of media attention, domestic abuse has risen in actual day-to-day incidents, from a couple’s arguing violently in public, to calls for police to respond to homes with verbal abuse. The Domestic Abuse Council reported a 40 percent increase in crisis calls from 2008 to 2009.

The majority of people charged with domestic violence were involved in a verbal fight or a minor altercation. Regardless of whether the alleged violence was trivial or severe, anyone accused of domestic violence needs to take the charges seriously as the consequences can be severe. It is important for accused persons to contact an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney to help navigate the court process and provide representation.