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Domestic violence victims will speak in Orange County

Following an increase in the number of domestic violence cases reported in Central Florida, the mayor of Orange re-established Orange County's Domestic Violence Commission in January. This body, headed by a circuit judge and another co-chair, is set to reexamine the goals of the commission during a two-hour evening meeting in early April. This inquiry will take place in the chambers of the Board of County Commissioners.

The meeting also includes a fact-finding segment. Local victims who have suffered as a result of domestic violence will be given chances to testify about their personal experiences while protected by their right to anonymity. In addition, domestic abuse service providers will be called upon to give their perspectives on the matter. After the meeting, the commission will be granted a 90-day period to make and give its recommendations to officials. 

In Florida, domestic violence has a broad definition. In addition to including all kinds of assault and battery, it also applies to stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment and any other criminal act that causes physical harm or death of a family or household member when committed by another member of the same family or household. This includes spouses, unmarried parents and anyone who resides together as a family would.

Unfortunately, not all domestic abuse cases are clear-cut. The broad legal definition of domestic violence means that some spouses may attempt to use the legal system for unjust personal gain. This can include getting the upper hand in custody agreements or similar disputes. As a result, many accused individuals who aren't familiar with all their legal options seek assistance from attorneys who may be able to help them protect themselves and their families.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Orange County Domestic Violence Commission to hear victims speak," March 30, 2013 

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