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Divorce proceedings often trigger acts of domestic violence

Domestic abuse against women makes headlines regularly. There is a notable rise in acts of violence throughout various counties in Florida. But domestic violence is not just a family problem within the inner walls of a dwelling place: It is a serious crime that often brings a tragic outcome.

Approximately 75 percent of emergency room visits are women battered by a spouse or boyfriend after a recent breakup. Women are at greater risks of abuse within the first two weeks after a split. In Broward County, 7,051 domestic violence violations occurred in 2011. In 2010, 113,378 domestic violence crimes were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies, resulting in over 67,000 arrests.

Following are some safety steps women should follow prior to separating.

First, women should think about an effective exit plan. Make it as specific as how to exit your home safely and how to find temporary shelter.

Second, tell your partner in a public place or by formal service. A would-be batterer is less likely to resort to violence when others are present. Park in well-lit places in view of property cameras and high-traffic areas.

Third, be open with your managers at work by explaining the situation and making them aware of any potential violence. If vacation time is available, consider using it to stay in a secret location for a few weeks.

Leaving doesn't mean automatic violence. The potential for violence should never be taken lightly. It is better to plan safely and protect yourself and your children than to be sorry later.

Source: Washington Times, "Domestic murders increasing; how to protect yourself," Myra Fleischer, Oct. 8, 2012

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