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Florida's former first lady addresses domestic violence

A recent opinion column appearing in the Tampa Bay Times conveyed the views and continuing concerns of former Florida first lady Columba Bush on a matter that is clearly close to her heart.

That subject is domestic violence, with Bush contributing an article to the newspaper last month, a timely submission given October’s designation as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

What is immediately clear concerning Bush’s statements is her concern that focus on domestic abuse within the state not be confined to any time period, but, rather, spell an ongoing effort to eradicate family violence.

There is certainly need for that long-term view, with ample evidence of the scourge of domestic abuse being immediately apparent within the state. Bush cites the Florida Uniform Crime Report, for example, a document indicating that one in every five homicides occurring in Florida has a nexus with family violence. The report cites an uptick in domestic violence-related murders of more than six percent last year.

Sadly, too, Bush notes the high number of calls regarding family violence taken by advocates at the Statewide Child Abuse Hotline.

Government can only do so much to fight the problem, notes Bush, who takes obvious pride in her affiliation with the group Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Foundation, which was founded during her husband’s tenure as governor. The coalition seeks to raise money through private sources as a supplement to government resources available for helping violence victims.

What Bush says she hopes for is a broad-based coalition to combat violence, one based on “the continued support of our legislative, corporate and community leaders.”

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Column: working to stop domestic violence in Florida," Columba Bush, Oct. 18, 2013

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