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Domestic Violence
Don’t be a Victim of Domestic Violence
It isn’t always easy to recognize if you are in an abusive relationship. If your domestic partner:
  • Insults you, puts you down in front of people, calls you offensive names or makes you feel worthless
  • Hits, chokes, kicks or beats you
  • Is jealous of your relationships with other people
  • Threatens to hurt you or destroy personal property
  • Controls all the family money, credit cards or vehicle
… you might be considered abused or a victim of domestic violence.

For help, you can call the Fernandina Beach Police Department at (904) 277-7342 or Micah’s Place at (800) 500-1119 or (904) 225-9979.

For additional information about local domestic violence outreach programs and the only certified domestic violence shelter in Nassau County visit Micah's Place.

- Chief Jim Hurley

I spent twenty-five years with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and I remember all to well those first ten years or so when domestic violence was not discussed openly anywhere in polite society.

Back then Police Officers weren’t exactly first responders, we were more like the last resort. More often than not we saw the tragic results of domestic battery up close and personal and we resented that we were powerless to do much about it.

We tried, of course, but reasoning with a drunken batterer at 2:00 O’clock in the morning was never very successful in the long run. The best we could hope for was a temporary cease-fire, and we knew we were doing nothing to solve the real problem.

There are many reasons why domestic violence was allowed to occur unabated in our neighborhoods, towns and cities, even with our knowledge. Micah’s Place has outlined many of the financial, emotional and psychological causes for remaining in bad situations. Meanwhile, many of the social and legal reasons for our apathy are grounded in the misguided concept that “A man’s Home is his Castle,” and the determined stance by the state not to encroach on the “Sanctity of Marriage.” Well, even rookie street cops in 1980 understood that when a marriage includes domestic violence, it is far from sanctified, it’s broken.

Fortunately, a lot of good things have happened over the past fifteen years,

Most notably (from a law enforcement perspective) have been monumental changes to state law that finally gave police officers the ability and direction to arrest batterers based on probable cause, even when the offense is not committed in our presence.

Today we have groups committed to education and outreach support, we have emergency shelters, and programs designed to make it possible for victims to reenter society once they leave their batterer.

Interestingly enough, the response to domestic violence now serves as a model for other social problems, such as homelessness. Quite simply, Micah’s Place, and the many shelters like it around the state and around the country, is a tremendous success story!

But we should not be complacent or stop trying to improve the various education, response, and legal components that took so long to develop. Even now we have recently created a new Countywide Domestic Violence Task Force designed to identify areas that require our energy and focus. We must continually search for new and creative strategies, as well as new partners.

I commend Daniel Taxi for stepping up and offering their services at no cost when called upon by our shelter employees. So many other community stakeholders have demonstrated their support in ways. I’d like to commend Micah’s Place for taking the lead by providing education and outreach to those of dating age in our high also thank the School Board for being forward-thinking enough to recognize the need for this kind of training. What a great way to stop the cycle of violence!

I also commend Micah’s Place for continuing to offer first responder training to police officers and deputies throughout the County, and I am here to tell you that the Fernandina Beach Police Department is committed to the goal of reducing incidents of Domestic Violence. We are currently examining methods for analyzing our records data for early identification of potential victims of domestic violence. This type of Threat Abatement has been successful in other jurisdictions and is well worth examining.

March 31, 2007