Domestic violence is a problem virtually everywhere in the United States, with Florida’s Orange County being no exception. In 2010 alone, more than 10,000 calls related to domestic abuse were made to police agencies in the county.
County officials are determined to see a decrease in that number and are working proactively with the county’s sole domestic-violence shelter to see that aim realized.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and police Chief Paul Rooney are working closely with Harbor House of Central Florida in a partnership that pinpoints especially problematic areas and then focuses — neighborhood by neighborhood — on public education and providing outreach services to progressively reduce acts of violence.
The partnership first went into effect last year in the Pine Castle neighborhood. Deemed Project Courage, it stressed the steps for a victim in a violent domestic environment to take, including who to call and where to go.
Officials say it is having a positive impact, and they are now set to launch Project Courage 2, which will focus on another Orlando neighborhood. The new area of concentration, which will be saturated with domestic-violence advocates seeking to educate and otherwise help victims, will be identified from maps created by the University of Central Florida that pinpoint zip codes within which disproportionately high numbers of abuse incidents are reported.
The optimism of county officials is tempered by a sober realism concerning domestic violence. Homicides in Orlando resulting from domestic abuse have doubled so far in 2011 compared to all of 2010.
Related Resource: Orlando Sentinel, “Orlando to unveil program targeting domestic violence” Aug. 22, 2011