- Domestic Violence
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
Each day, three women are killed in America by boyfriends or husbands. Men, children, elders and pets also become victims of domestic violence.
Florida law describes domestic violence as any physically abusive behavior committed by a household member that results in injury or death. Here are some signs of an abusive relationship that may result in domestic violence:
- You are afraid of your partner's temper
- You are overly concerned about what kind of mood your partner is in
- Your partner prevents you from seeing your friends or family, or alienates them so that they are uncomfortable being around him
- Your partner threatens to hurt or kill you, your children, your family, friends or pets
- Your partner yells at you, reprimands you, or demeans you in public
- Your partner hits, slaps, pushes or shoves you, pulls your hair, or inflicts physical injury on you in any way
- Your partner prevents you from getting or keeping a job
- Your partner keeps you from leaving the house or locks you out of the house.
If you need help, here's what you can do:
- Call 911 and request Law Enforcement.
- Contact PCSO's Victim Services Unit: Melinda Smith (386)329-0481 and Kim Daley (386)326-2833. Services are available after hours by calling the Hotline (386)325-3141
- Contact the Lee Conlee House 24-hour Hotline at (386)325-3141 or 1-800-500-1119 to speak with someone who can talk to you about your options.
- Safely leave your home or have someone stay with you.
- Get medical attention from your doctor or hospital emergency room. Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed records in case you decide to take legal action.
- Injunction for Protection
What does and Injunction for Protection do?
An Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence may include but not limited to:
- Restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse
- Directing the abuser to leave your household
- Preventing the abuser from entering your home, school, business, or workplace
- Awarding you custody of your minor child or children
- Directing the abuser to pay support to you and your minor children
How do I get an Injunction?
Click the links below to download domestic violence forms:
- Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence
- Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence
- Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Sexual Violence
- Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Dating Violence
- Go to room 218 in the Family Division Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court located at the Putnam County Courthouse.
- Bring a picture ID/driver's license, the address of where the abuser can be found and any relevant police reports.
- Tell the official on duty that you want to file a petition for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.
- You will have to tell the official who asks when, where, and how you were hurt or beaten, what the abuser did to you, and how often that it happened.
- You may have to furnish your address to the court in a separate confidential filing for safety reasons.
- If you want the judge to order certain things like custody of your children or a Batterer's Intervention Program, you must request this in writing.
- There is NO cost to file, but appropriate dress is required. No children please.
- After you have completed the paperwork, the Court may order a Temporary Injunction, which is good for 15 days. Then a full hearing is held to consider the safety of you and your children.
- The abuser MUST be served with the Injunction to be effective. It tells the abuser what the judge requires and when to return to Court for a hearing, which will be within 15 days.
- Your attendance at the hearing is important to make sure the judge understands exactly what help you need and why. If you do not attend, the judge can end the Temporary Injunction.
- You can request an Emergency Injunction on Saturday, Sunday, Holidays or after normal business hours by calling the Sheriff's Office or if the abuser has been arrested, you can go to the abuser's first court appearance at the jail and request the judge to issue an Emergency Injunction.
If you need assistance with completing the Injunction paperwork, please contact the Victim Advocate in the Restraining Order Assistance Program at (386) 326-7676 or (386) 325-3141.
- Crime Victim Bill of Rights
Guidelines for Fair Treatment of Victims and Witnesses in the Criminal Justice System
Victims, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, have the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant at all crucial stages of a criminal proceeding, to the extent that this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. In the case of a minor, the victim's parent or guardian and the next of kin of a homicide victim are given notification.
What Rights Are The Victims Entitled To?
- Information concerning available crisis intervention services, supportive or bereavement counseling, community-based victim treatment programs, the availability of crime protection services and crime victim compensation.
- Information about the role of the victim in the criminal justice system, the stages in the criminal and juvenile justice process which are of significance to a crime victim, and the manner in which such information can be obtained.
- Information concerning steps that are available to Law Enforcement Officers and State Attorneys to protect victims and witnesses from intimidation.
- Advance notification of judicial and post-judicial proceedings which relate to the offender's arrest, release or community work release, provided that the victim gives the State Attorney's Office her/his current name and address.
- In felony crimes or homicide, consultation by the State Attorney's Office to obtain the views of the victim or in the case of a minor child, the guardian or the victim's family regarding the release of the accused, plea agreements, participation in pretrial diversion programs, and the sentencing of the accused.
- Return of the victim's property collected by Law Enforcement or the State Attorney's Office for evidentiary purposes.
- Assistance from Law Enforcement or the State Attorney's Office, when requested by victims, to inform the victim's employer about necessary absences from work, and to explain to the victim's creditors about serious financial hardship incurred as a result of the crime.
- Request restitution from the offender for certain out-of-pocket losses. The State Attorney shall inform the victim if and when restitution is ordered.
- Submit a Victim Impact Statement orally, or in writing, to the judge, prior to the sentencing of an offender who pleads guilty, nolo contendere, or is convicted of a felony crime.
- Information concerning the escape of the offender from a state correctional institution, county jail, juvenile detention facility, or involuntary commitment facility.
- Accompaniment by a victim advocate during any deposition of the victim or testimony of the victim of a sexual offense.
- Request HIV testing of the person charged with committing any sexual offense (under F.S. 794 or 800.04 which involves the transmission of body fluids). HIV test results shall be disclosed to the victim or the victim's legal guardian, if the victim is a minor.
- Prompt and timely disposition of the court case (as long as this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused).
- In the case of minors, if the victim or any sibling of the victim and the offender attend the same school, the victim and their siblings have the right to request that the offender be required to attend a different school.
- A victim of a sexual offense shall be informed of the right to have the courtroom cleared of certain persons as provided in s. 918.16, F.S., when the victim is testifying concerning that offense.
- Crimes Against the Elderly
Many of the crimes committed against the elderly reflect what is happening to the population in general. While many types of crime could involve any age, a few categories, frauds and scams, purse snatching, pick pocketing, theft of checks from the mail and crimes in long-term care settings, claim more older than younger victims, according to AARP studies. One category, elder abuse, finds all of its victims in the older population. Reports of violent crimes spread rapidly through the mature community and affect that portion of the population dramatically. Although statistics show that violent crime against the elderly is rare as compared to other age groups, many older people fear physical harm.
- Property Crime. The invasion of an elderly’ living quarters and damage to possessions may be economically and emotionally destructive. The loss of possessions may be less destructive than never feeling secure in those living quarters after the incident.
- Frauds and Scams. Loss of money can be critical for anyone with limited financial resources, but for many older persons, it can be devastating. Some of the elderly are even more susceptible to fraudulent schemes. While it is difficult to draw general conclusions, there are various factors (and combinations of factors) that can lead to victimization – especially when they are combined with reduced mental and physical abilities. Several of these factors are:
- Loneliness:Those older persons who do not have a chance to talk with others as much as they wish may be receptive to a friendly, smooth-talking con artist.
- Grief:An older person who has lost close friends or relatives to death may be seeking companionship.
- Loss:An older person deprived of friends, family, job, or routine may become depressed and can, in some instances, be a target for swindlers.
- Sensory impairment:Older people with poor eyesight or hearing loss can become easy marks for con games such as those involving fraudulent contracts with small print.
- Illness:An older person who is ill and in pain may grasp at the promise of a miracle cure.
- Vanity:The reluctance to exhibit characteristics of aging may make older persons vulnerable to products and schemes to “cure” aging or the symptoms of aging.
- Limited Income:The older retiree who is on a fixed income and alarmed about unforeseen inflation may take risks when apparently easy money is offered.
- Mistrust of banks:Some older persons may keep substantial amounts of cash at home, remembering post-Depression era concern about bank failures. They worry about more recent accounts of depositors losing money and also find it difficult to get to the bank. This money could be lost to them not only through frauds and scams but robberies and burglaries as well.
- Isolation:Some elderly living alone may be unequipped to deal with home repairs. Lacking a readily available second opinion, they may succumb to the offers of the proverbial dishonest roof repairer or driveway resurfacer.
Elder Abuse. Although it is generally recognized that elder abuse may be vastly under reported, some authorities suggest that there could be as many as 2.5 million incidents of abuse of older persons in any given year. Mistreatment occurs both in domestic and institutional settings. As the older population increases, it is likely that the incidents of mistreatment also will grow.
How to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a con artist
The con artist will appear to be a polite, soft-spoken individual who sometimes poses a police detective, repair person, or banking official. But beware! Behind this familiar facade, lies a cunning, heartless individual with only one goal in mind – getting your money! The con artist has no conscience and to them you are nothing more than an income source. Familiarize yourself with four of the most common con games:
The Bank Examiner
The phone rings. The caller, who may be male or female, is a very convincing, professional sounding person who claims to work for your bank, or even the Federal Reserve. They may seem to know a lot about your personal affairs – even your bank balance. They tell you there’s a crooked bank employee who has been stealing money from customer’s accounts and in order to catch the thief, they need your help. You are asked to withdraw a large sum of money from your account and then meet with him or a police detective so that the money can be counted and marked. When you hand over the money you are given a receipt or a cashier’s check. You are assured the money will be returned to your account.
Remember, when you give the money over, it’s gone forever! These con artists are members of deceit. They pose as banking officials and police detectives. They may produce official-looking ID cards, badges, guns and radios. Don’t be fooled. Banks and law enforcement agencies do not conduct investigations in this manner. If ever approached in this manner, contact you bank and law enforcement right away, and leave your money IN THE BANK!!!
The Pigeon Drop
You could be at the bank, on a street corner, or in a shopping center when two strangers approach. They act as though they have never met but they are actually working a carefully rehearsed routine, which is designed to take your money! One claims to have just found an envelope, a package, or a purse containing a large sum of money. A note with the cash may give the impression that the money is as the result of illegal activity. The three of you discuss what should be done. One of ‘them’ says they work for a lawyer, an accountant, or some other professional and offers to go ask for advice.
Upon their return, you are told that their boss said it would be all right to divide the cash equally, but first you must prove you are a reputable person with money of your own. They, of course, have a large amount of money on them, proving they are reputable. They drive you to your bank so you can withdraw what they call ‘Good Faith’ money. They tell you the next step is to show your ‘Good Faith’ money to the ‘Boss’. You are told to go to the office of the ‘Boss’ to get your cut.
If you have gone this far, it is too late, because you will soon find that there is no such person as the ‘Boss’ and that the strangers switched your money with cut up paper. YOU WILL NOT SEE THE STRANGERS OR YOUR MONEY AGAIN!!!
Should someone approach you and says they have just found a large sum of money, leave immediately! THE ONLY NEWLY FOUND MONEY WILL BE YOURS!!!
A workman comes to the door offering to do some costly repair work for what seems like a bargain price. He might say his father put the roof on the house years earlier and he is here to do any necessary repairs nearly cost-free. Or he might say he was in the neighborhood doing another job and has some left over materials that must be used quickly. If you agree to let him do the work, when he is finished, he will return to your door and give you a much higher price than you expected. By now the work is completed and he tells you that you must pay or he will take you to court.
If someone comes to your door offering to do repair work, REFUSE! Legitimate contractors normally don’t go door-to-door soliciting business. If you NEED repair work, YOU call the contractor!
The Badge Player
This scam is used on someone who has already fallen victim to another con game. The con artist, posing as a police detective, tells you he is investigating the earlier case and needs to discuss details of the case with you. He may show you pictures of possible suspects, even photos of the actual crooks who swindled you. He might say they are about to make an arrest, but the law enforcement agency cannot afford the expenses involved to travel out of town, so you are asked for the travel money. If you provide that travel money, it is your money going on that one-way trip!
Should someone come to your door and says he is a law enforcement officer, make certain you ask to see their badge or ID card. Examine them closely. Then call the non-emergency number listed in YOUR phone book for the local law enforcement agency. DO NOT CALL A NUMBER PROVIDED BY THE SO-CALLED DETECTIVE AT YOUR DOOR. And do not ever pay expenses. No law enforcement agency works that way!
- Financial Crimes
If you have experienced any type of financial crime recently, please contact Det. David Sanders at (386)-329-0800.Credit Card Security Precautions
The fraudulent use of credit cards is not limited to the loss or theft of actual credit cards. A capable criminal only needs to know your credit card number to fraudulently make numerous charges, including cash withdrawals, against your account. The following are a number or crime prevention tips or recommendations to guard against the illegal use of your credit cards.
- Photocopy both the front and back of all your credit cards and keep the copies in a safe and secure location. This will enable you to cancel your credit card as soon as possible if it is lost or stolen.
- Endorse all credit cards as soon as they arrive.
- It is advisable not to carry credit cards in your wallet or purse. Carry them separately if possible.
- Carry only the minimum number of credit cards actually needed and never leave them unattended.
- When you write a check, never allow the salesperson to write down your credit card number on the check. If paying by credit card, never let the salesperson write down your driver's license or social security number.
- Avoid signing a blank receipt, whenever possible. Draw a line through blank spaces above the total when you sign card receipts.
- Other Agencies and Organizations
If you're a victim of a crime, these organizations and agencies may offer some assistance. Contact them directly for more information.
Lee Conlee House Domestic Violence Center--Putnam County
Putnam County, Florida Official Web site
Florida Department of Corrections
7th Judicial Circuit of Florida
Florida Attorney General Victim Service
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Prevention & Victim Services
Women's Law Initiative
The Justice Coalition
Lee Conlee House Domestic Violence Center
- (386) 325-3141
- (800) 500-1119
Violence Intervention Prevention Program
Abuse Registry (Elderly and Children)
- (800) 96-ABUSE
State Attorney's Office Victim Liason
- (386) 329-0259
Bureau of Victim Services (Tallahassee)
- (800) 226-6667
Family Court Services (Injunction for Protection)
- (386) 326-7650
Counseling for Family Violence or Individual Counseling:
Department of State Corrections, Victim Assistance Program
- (850) 488-9166
Guardian Ad Litem Program (Children)
Putnam Behavioral Mental Health Clinic
- (386) 325-8178
State Attorney, Putnam County
- (386) 329-0259
Juvenile Justice System:
State Attorney, Putnam County
- (386) 329-0259
Florida Department of Children and Families
- (386) 329-3501
- Are You Safe?
Does your partner:
- Embarrass you with bad names and put-downs?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family?
- Take money or your Social Security? Make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
- Make all the decisions?
- Tell you you're a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, it's your fault, or even denies doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
- Shove you, slap you or hit you?
- Force you to drop charges?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Threaten to harm your parents?
- Threaten to kill you?
No one deserves to be abused. If things get out of hand, it's good to have a plan!
Following these safety suggestions is not a guarantee of safety, but could help improve your safety situation:
- Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are always ways to escape.
- If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know the numbers to call for help. If you need a 911 cell phone, please contact the Victim Services Unit at (386)329-0481 or (386)326-2833. Don't be afraid to call the police.
- Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help. Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word signal that they should get help or leave the house.
- Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that they are not at fault or cause the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to keep safe.
- Call the Lee Conlee House Hotline (386)325-3141 or 1-800-500-1119 to assess your options and get support.