October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) we are doing everything we can to prevent domestic violence and support victims. Domestic violence can occur between current or former spouses, people related by blood or marriage, or people living together as a family. Our deputies can make an arrest when domestic violence takes the form of assault, battery, stalking, or other illegal actions. In the bigger picture though, domestic violence is a pattern of one partner controlling the other using a variety of methods including physical attacks, sexual violence, intimidation, or manipulation. Know the warning signs of domestic violence to keep yourself and your family safe. A partner may be abusive if they employ any of the following tactics:
Isolating someone from friends and family, restricting where they go and what they do, and showing extreme jealousy.
Using economic abuse such as preventing someone from working, taking or limiting their money, controlling purchases.
Intimidation, such as yelling, breaking things, hurting pets, or displaying weapons.
Threats and coercion, including threats of harm, abandonment, or suicide; threatening to report them to welfare, immigration etc.; making them do illegal things.
Emotional abuse like insulting, belittling, humiliating, gaslighting, or name-calling.
Using children against the victim, such as threatening to take the children away, using visitation to harass the victim, making the victim feel guilty about their children.
Using male privilege to make a female victim feel like a servant, acting like the master of the household, strictly defining male and female roles.
Abusers will often try to minimize or deny the abuse and make their victim believe that it is their fault, that they have done something to deserve the abuse. But no one deserves to be abused for any reason.
If the abuse rises to the level of a crime and a deputy arrests a suspect on a domestic violence charge, Victim Advocates can help a victim navigate the often-complicated legal process from State Attorney Investigations to depositions, hearings, trials, and sentencing. No victim should feel so intimidated by the legal process that they don’t follow through and permanently escape an abusive situation.
If you are in fear because of a domestic violence situation get help, whether from family and friends, a local domestic violence organization, or by calling PCSO Victim Advocates at 727-582-6259. Our local certified domestic violence programs are CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) and Hope Villages of America. They both offer prevention and education programs as well as confidential emergency shelter services. You can reach the CASA 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 727-895-1269 or the Hope Villages 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 727-442-4128. If you are in need immediate law enforcement assistance don’t hesitate to call 911.
Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info