Treatment Programs for Victims of Domestic Violence
In Florida, the law requires that programs formed for the purpose of aiding victims of domestic violence provide certain services and meet minimum standards set forth by the state. There are approximately 42 certified centers of this nature in the state, all of which are community-based agencies. Domestic violence is a serious offense and can have lifelong consequences for victims, whether they are adults or children. To ensure that you receive the best possible legal defense and care, it is important that victims seek the aid of an experienced family law attorney who can work with you to help defend your rights.Domestic Violence Centers
In the event that a person has been involved in an incident involving domestic violence, he or she has the option to seek help at one of Florida’s many domestic violence centers. Florida’s domestic violence centers have a total of 1,942 beds statewide. Between 2011 and 2012, domestic violence centers provided emergency shelter for around 15,997 people and provided over 450,000 hours of counseling to residents.Services
Some domestic violence centers offer residential inpatient treatment, during which residents live at a designated facility full-time. Others utilize outpatient programs that provide flexibility for those who are unable to relocate to a live-in facility. Whether the facilities offer inpatient or outpatient services, all certified centers must do the following:
- Provide a facility which will serve as a center to house victims and any dependents who rely partly or wholly on the victim; and
- Receive the annual written endorsement of local law enforcement agencies.
In addition to housing victims and their dependents, each center must provide minimum services that include:
- Information and referral services;
- Counseling and case management for victims;
- The provision of temporary emergency shelter for at least 24 hours;
- A 24-hour hotline;
- Assessment and, if appropriate, referral of resident children;
- Educational services to increase community awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and
- Providing orientation and training programs for staff.
While the law requires that domestic violence centers provide these services, many facilities offer additional resources, such as work training and job placement, transportation to and from appointments and meetings, transitional housing after a temporary stay at a center has ended, connection with substance abuse and mental health services, assistance with rent, and eventual relocation.
Domestic violence centers can also play an active role in the legal process of a criminal prosecution by providing courtroom representation and legal advocacy to victims. Additionally, such centers employ certified counselors and therapists who oversee support groups and counseling sessions.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence, it is important that you alert local law enforcement as soon as possible. Once your safety has been ensured, it is vital that you retain an experienced family law attorney who will be able to protect the rights and safety of you and any children. Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein today to schedule a consultation.