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Domestic Violence

Daytona Beach and Volusia County are in the midst of an epidemic we shouldn’t have and can’t afford. Volusia leads all of Florida’s lager counties in the rate of domestic violence offenses, ranks 4th among all counties in the total number of crimes classified as domestic violence and is on track to increase its numbers by close to 6 percent this year. Eighty percent, 3,643 of domestic abuse violations are for simple assault. But 2015’s 10 murders, 35 forcible rapes and 836 aggravated assault and stalking charges underscore the out-of-control nature of the crime. Because cases often become “he said, she said” matters, law enforcement and prosecutors often have trouble building solid cases, as illustrated by recent high profile accusations involving a 2016 election candidate. State Attorney R. J. Larizza in late October kicked off a new joint task force to combat domestic violence in the 7th Judicial Circuit, most of which takes place in Volusia County. As part of the multi-agency effort Larizza has assigned two Volusia-based prosecutors to full time domestic violence work and utilized a $480,000 Federal Grant to add an additional seven victim advocate positions in Volusia, bringing the total of full-time outreach to eleven. Daytona Beach feels the effect of domestic violence more than any other area of the county. With 1,593 offenses in a population of 63,634 reported in 2015, the city is in full-blown crisis. By contrast, although about the same number of offenses were reported by the Sheriff’s Office, which patrols unincorporated areas, Deltona, the largest city, DeBary, Oak Hill and Pierson, they come from a population (226,715) nearly four time larger. To see the relationship between domestic violence and population take a look at the chart below that breaks it all down and illustrates the epidemic in the City of Daytona Beach. To make the effort LaRizza has begun truly effective, here are a few steps that could be taken with citizen initiative (that means all of us):

· A resolution by County Council and each City recognizing the issue and calling on local police agencies to step up education and enforcement.

· Arrange for social media reminders of how to report domestic violence situations and assure safety.

· Discussion from the pulpit or community outreach by the faithbased community to focus attention on the problem.

· Seek sponsors for materials suitable for parent-teacher groups and high school social studies classes on response to difficult home situations.

To review the 2015 Volusia report domestic violence offenses by city, click the link below

Domestic Violence Rerpot

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