Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The day before Hurricane Irma roared through Tampa, our clerks worked overtime to process domestic violence restraining order applications and prepare them for judicial review.
It’s what they do, day in and day out, 365 days a year, including Christmas Day.
But October is special because it is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As always, the Clerk’s Office is joining with The Spring of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County’s only domestic violence shelter, to raise public awareness about this pressing problem.
Nationally, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be the victim of some kind of domestic violence in their lifetimes. More than 100,000 domestic violence incidents are reported in Florida each year, and many are never reported.
Our office each year assists about 6,800 domestic violence victims seeking restraining orders.
“Domestic violence does not discriminate,” says Clerk of Court & Comptroller Pat Frank. “Anyone can be a victim—rich or poor, black or white, male, female, gay or straight. There is no shame in seeking protection from someone who means you harm, even if that person is a family member.”
Our Domestic Violence Offices, at the George Edgecomb Courthouse in downtown Tampa and the Plant City Courthouse, are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Edgecomb office is also open 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays. In addition, employees of The Spring are deputized by Clerk Frank to process applications after hours.
To speed up the process of obtaining a restraining order, our office has begun delivering applications to judges electronically so that they can quickly be reviewed, signed electronically and processed. Everyone who fills out an application is also given the option to register to view their cases online, avoiding a trip to the courthouse to keep up with the progress of their applications.
During October, we are encouraging our employees to wear purple ribbons to promote awareness of domestic violence. We also have placed posters in some of our offices to promote public awareness of domestic violence.
The Spring also plans two events in October, and we encourage everyone to participate if possible:
October 5 -- 27th Annual Gift of Peace Luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
October 13 – Ruth’s Chris Luncheon. A portion of proceeds to benefit The Spring of Tampa Bay.