Please contact our office at (813) 562-3804 to speak to our Volunteer Coordinator, Valerie Miller, to learn more. You can also complete a volunteer application and return it to us at your convenience. To help assist in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of our victims, we have opportunities in the following areas:
Volunteering, Mentoring, Childcare Team, Monetary Donations, etc.
Volunteers can help assisting with clerical work, incoming and outgoing mail, making copies, answering telephones, filing, assembling intake packets, etc.
Volunteers can spend a little time with the children while the parent is in her support group and/or mentoring or counseling session.
Volunteers can also mentor the victims/survivors
FAQ on Domestic Violence
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that adults or adolescents use against their current or former intimate partners. Domestic violence occurs in intimate relationships where the perpetrator and the victim are currently or previously have been dating, living together, married or divorced. They might have children in common or not.
Who are the victims?
Approximately 85 percent of the victims of domestic violence are women (U.S. Department of Justice, August 1995). However, this statistic only refers to the victim’s gender and does not refer to the gender of her partner. Therefore, the 85 percent includes women in straight and lesbian relationships, and the 15 percent remainder includes men in gay as well as straight relationships.
Who are the abusers?
Abusers come from all walks of life. They may be of any sex, class background, race, religion, or sexual orientation. They come from different educational and income levels. Although batterers may be of any sex, most batterers or perpetrators are male. Another aspect of this question deals with the attitudes and behaviors of men who batter. The following presents some of the characteristics associated with batterers:
INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE
•Resolves conflict with intimidation, bullying, and violence.
• Holds her down, restrains her from leaving a room, pushes, or shoves.
• Uses threats and intimidation as instruments of control or abuse. This includes threats to harm physically, to defame, to embarrass, to restrict freedom, to disclose secrets, to cut off support, to abandon, to kidnap children, and to commit suicide. VERBALLY ABUSIVE
• Says things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful. • Degrades her, curses her, or minimizes her accomplishments. • May wake her up to yell at her or not let her go to sleep by yelling at her. MINIMIZES ABUSE
• Redefines a violent incident, for example, by saying, “It wasn’t that bad,” or, “I didn’t hit her that hard; she bruises easily.” • Accuses her of exaggerating or of being crazy. SUBSTANCE ABUSE
• Cites alcohol or drug use as an excuse or explanation for hostile or violent conduct (“That was the booze talking, not me; I got so drunk I was crazy.”).
• Forces her to use drugs or alcohol. BREAKS OR STRIKES THINGS IN ANGER
• Beats on tables with a fist throws objects around or near her. • Uses symbolic violence (tearing a wedding photo or marring a face in a photo). HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
• Has battered in prior relationships. • Has previous law enforcement encounters for behavioral offenses (threats, stalking, assault, battery).
• Refuses to take responsibility for his actions.
• Blames his partner for his problems to justify the violence.
• Often blames other ethnic groups, co-workers, or women in general for his problems.
• Says things like, “You make me so mad.” CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN"
• Treats animals cruelly or is insensitive to their suffering.
• Expects children to be capable of doing things far beyond their ability or teases children until they cry.
• Forces the children to watch the abuse of the victim or engages them in the abuse of the victim. EXTREME JEALOUSY
• Becomes jealous of anyone or anything that takes her time away from the relationship. • Says things like, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.”
• Requires her to account for all of her time.
• Accuses her of flirting or of having affairs.
• Calls her frequently at work or refuses to let her go to work. CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR
• Makes all the decisions about the house, her clothing or where they go.
• Is extremely impatient and might exhibit poor impulse control. Believes his needs and wants should be fulfilled immediately.
• Use money to control her activities, purchases, and behavior and ISOLATION
• Cuts her off from resources.
• Accuses people who are her supports of causing trouble.
• May not let her use the car, work or go to school.
• Says things like, “Your family just doesn’t like me or doesn’t think I’m good enough.
” DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE "
• Has sudden and extreme changes in mood.
• Is alternately loving and abusive.
• Can behave explosively.
RAPE OR USE OF FORCE IN SEX
• Has no concern about whether she wants to have sex.
• Uses sulking, anger, harassment, or coercion to manipulate her into compliance.
• Forces her to have sex while she is sleeping or demands sex when she is ill or injured after a beating.
How many people are affected by domestic violence?
According to the El Dorado Women’s Center (www.edwomenscenter.org/FAQ) in Placerville, California, “A woman is assaulted by her partner every nine seconds in the U.S.* There are four million victims a year. 30% of all female murder victims are slain by their male partners. One in three Americans say they have witnessed domestic violence.#”
• In 2002, 24,905 domestic violence cases were reported in 2002.
• 14 deaths statewide resulted from 13 domestic violence incidents.
• 4,104 female victims were injured during their assaults.
• 75 percent of victims reporting incidents to police were female.
• 3,381 children were at the scene of the abuse when law enforcement arrived.
• 50 percent to 70 percent of men who abuse their female partners abuse their children.
• Nearly 71 percent of children who witnessed the abuse were 12 or younger.
• One of every 10 cases of women suffering abuse by their male partner is reported.
• 25 percent of pregnant women seeking prenatal care have been battered during their pregnancy.
• Battering is the major cause of injury to women ages 14-45, causing more injuries than auto crashes, muggings and rapes combined.
Is battering a momentary loss of temper?
No. One in five women victimized by their spouses or an ex-spouse, report they have been victimized over and over again by the same person. (U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello, 1993)
If it were, violence would be perpetrated against others, i.e., bosses, coworkers, friends, etc., and not directed at intimate partners.
Is it a crime?
Yes, in every state. The laws vary from state to state. Visit Women’s Law Initiative’s website (www.womenslaw.org) for more information.
Is there ever any excuse for domestic violence?
No. Batterers often come up with excuses and frequently blame the victim, deny the abuse and minimize the severity of their violence. There is never an excuse for abusing anyone and no possible reason for brutality or coercion in a "loving" relationship. We all get angry at people we care for. But domestic violence tends to swing between brutality and "making up," with the level of abuse always rising. It is all about control, not equality.
How can I identify domestic violence?
The following are questions to ask about your relationship.
DOES YOUR PARTNER:
• Embarrass you with bad names and put-downs?
• Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
• Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
• Stop you from seeing or talking to friends or family?
• Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?
• Make all the decisions?
• Tell you you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
• Act like the abuse is not a big deal, is your fault, or even deny doing it?
• Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets? • Intimidate you with guns, knives, or other weapons?
• Shove you, slap you or hit you?
• Force you to drop charges?
• Threaten to commit suicide?
• Threaten to kill you?
If you checked even one, you may be in an abusive relationship.