To: State representative Thad Altman, Bill Posey, Marco Rubio

Injunction changes to prevent more deaths!

Injunction hearings are conducted daily with more than 75% not substantiated according to the Judge. However, on average nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered "domestic violence."

1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner.
1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner.

It is clear there is not enough protection, investigation and thorough decision making in our court system.

I am a licensed counselor and owner of a well known mental health practice in Brevard County. Another patient has died at the hands of the court. Injunctions consistently denied, sheriff’s dismissing her 911 calls, and now a middle aged, perfectly healthy mom is dead due to an unexpected heart attack after a last attempt of an injunction against her ex-husband was denied by the court. Her 5 year old child is now without his mother and in the hands of the abuser and one who indirectly killed his mother. I see this time and time again. Either the mother dies by suicide because she couldn’t take being denied by the court and wouldn’t take her plea for help seriously, or she is murdered by the abuser. In this case, the amount of stress for over 2 years impacted her perfectly healthy body and suddenly stopped her heart.

I want change. We need change. This has to stop. I want a law passed that will force Judges to order psychological testing and therapy for all Individuals involved in an injunction request. Children should be immediately protected and in therapy as well. The petitioner and respondent should have a psychological evaluation and a minimum of 12 sessions of therapy, report given to the judge after completion. This should be mandatory prior to any injunction being lifted or permanent. This will prevent such a lift of protection based on hear-say and simply a Judges opinion. Unfortunately, Judges do not understand manipulative tactics of an abuser which allows them to walk free and continue to physically and/or psychologically torment the victim. Additional mental health professionals should be involved in these cases, so that is what I am requesting.

Why is this important?

Domestic violence victims and children of contentious divorced should have additional protection from their abusers. Additional professionals that are knowledgeable about mental health should be involved in such a major decision such as injunctions and whether they should be lifted or permanent. If a thorough psychological evaluation is conducted on an abuser, this may help in seeing there are underlying disorders of concern.

How it will be delivered