Often the wrongful death and injury lawsuits our Panama City victim's rights firm handles involve lives lost in car crashes or other accidental circumstances. Still, we know that too many people are impacted by intentional crime and we believe in representing injured victims as well as families who lost loved ones in these crimes. These stories are tragic and not something anyone enjoys thinking about at length, but it is vital that we are all aware of the very real danger of violent crime and the all too common threat of domestic violence in Panama City.
Local Woman Severely Beaten in Suspected Case of Domestic Violence
According to WJGH, Okaloosa County Deputies responded to an emergency call on Wednesday morning in Mary Esther. Police arrived at a Kathy Court home and found fifty-eight year old Mary Strange badly beaten. One of Strange's children told authorities that he found her on the ground and spotted her boyfriend nearby holding a "dark metal object." Deputies searched the scene and found a steel pipe measuring twelve to sixteen inches in a drainage ditch and an initial test suggests the presence of blood. The incident occurred only a day after officials served the man, forty-six year old Arnold Jerome Knight of Fort Walton Beach, with a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence. Police arrested Knight on attempted murder charges. A medical helicopter transported Strange to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. No further information on her condition had been released at the time of the report.
Domestic Violence Statistics & Services
Current studies suggest that twenty-two to twenty-five percent of all women in the United States will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. While less recognized, men can also be victims of domestic violence. The Florida Coalition against Domestic Violence ("FCADV") states that 113,378 domestic violence crimes were reported to law enforcement officials in Florida during 2010, leading to 67,810 arrests. That year, shelters provided 477,489 nights of emergency housing to 15,789 victims and their children, with advocates answering 130,393 hotline calls from individuals looking for information, services, and safety planning assistance. These numbers represent a fraction of the actual incidence of domestic violence. Domestic violence is often underreported (especially with male victims) to both law enforcement and aid groups due to a range of factors including shame, fear, or an abuser preventing the victim from accessing assistance.
The FCADV defines domestic violence as a pattern of controlling behaviors used by one person to gain or hold power over an intimate partner. Both actual acts and threats of violence are part of the definition. It is more than a disagreement and even more than an anger management issue. In many cases, domestic violence escalated over time. The FCADV operates a statewide hotline for domestic violence victims where people can access emergency services and other information in English, Spanish, and Creole. The number is 1-800-500-1119.
If you believe someone you love is being victimized, do not hesitate to speak up or to seek advice from professionals. Getting to safety should always be a priority for victims and domestic violence service providers can help a victim establish a safety plan. These plans are vital because violence can escalate when a victim is finally trying to escape.
Criminal prosecution of abusers is absolutely important. However, only civil claims focus on compensating victims and/or their loved ones. Remember that you can file a civil claim whether or not a criminal case exists and the burden of proof is different so a civil case may be successful even where a criminal case is not. We can help Panama City victims seek compensation for sexual abuse. This compensation can help a victim cover medical expenses, restart a safer life, and obtain necessary counseling. Where abuse results in the loss of life, we can also help in a civil wrongful death suit. We are here to help.
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