Report: Domestic Violence Up in Broward, Palm Beach

The Broward County Bar Association recently released a detailed analysis offering some insight into why local domestic violence cases have surged. silhouetteseries.jpg

Broward domestic violence defense attorneys know that a big part of it has to do with the economy. It’s practically a science – meteorologists can tell from barometric pressure readings whether it’s going to be a good weather day or a bad one. Defense attorneys know that when the economy begins to tank, domestic violence cases increase.

Throughout the U.S., calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline have climbed by about 13 percent from 2007 to 2009. In Florida, domestic violence centers reported a 40 percent increase in demand for services from late 2008 to late 2009. In the last year, Broward County domestic violence centers have reported an eye-popping 43 percent increase in calls, while those in Palm Beach County have reported an uptick of 27 percent.

What does the economy have to do with it? Consider first that South Florida has been hit especially hard by the economic crisis. Even though politicians in Washington continue to espouse the fact that we’re now technically in a recovery, a lot of people here are still struggling with impending foreclosures, unemployment or underemployment, reduced wages and overall economic insecurity. When people are on edge or depressed, that alone can lead to “taking it out on” those closes to you. It can also lead to substance abuse, which is another factor in domestic violence allegations.

Something else that is not often discussed with regard to domestic violence allegations in tough economic times is the fact that police agencies are often overworked and understaffed. Officers are being forced to take on more cases without working any additional hours, as local, state and federal budget cuts put restrictions on overtime and the hiring. And, of course, a similar strain on resources exists in the court system.

Officers conduct a cursory overview of the facts with a few questions – and that’s it. But almost always in domestic violence cases, someone is going to jail. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, as is the case with most domestic violence arrests, that mark is going to remain on your permanent record forever, unless your attorney can convince the state attorney’s office to drop or reduce the charges or if you are exonerated by a judge or jury.

This is why it’s critical to hire an experienced domestic violence attorney because this kind of a conviction – even if you plead no contest – will follow you as you try to apply for a job, or even keep the one you have. The current economic state of this country makes this an even more pressing issue.

Some of the strategies that a criminal defense lawyer in your case might employ include:
–Showing a potential monetary or other benefit that the accuser stands to gain with your conviction;
–Calling witnesses to testify that the person accused has a reputation for being non-violent and peaceful;
–Calling witnesses to testify that the accuser has a history of not being truthful;
–Showing that the accuser may be an unreliable witness due to the abuse of drugs or alcohol;
–Showing that the actions of the accused were taken either in self-defense or in order to protect children from the acts of the accuser.

If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence, call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. The Ansara Law Firm serves Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:
Domestic Violence Arrests Surge During Recessions, Sept. 15, 2012, Press Release, Broward County Bar Association
More Blog Entries:
When is Discipline in Fort Lauderdale Child Abuse? Oct. 5, 2012, Broward Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog

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