Getting support: Help for those affected by domestic violence

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One in four women in the United States aged 18 and older have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In addition, nearly one in four children witness an act of violence between partners.

They're sobering statistics that comes to mind after Kelsey Lee, 21, of Jacksonville, claimed she was beaten by her boyfriend as she held their baby boy. Her boyfriend was arrested Tuesday and charged with battery in connection to the incident.

Lee's mother, Lindsey Sheppard, spoke to News4Jax Wednesday. Sheppard said she is a victim of domestic violence and was proud of her daughter for coming forward.

"She's (Lee) watched me experience this," Sheppard said. "I just hope that any woman in this world going through this, I hope you be a woman and stand up. Don't ever let someone tell you, 'you can't do something.' You can always do it. There's always help."

There are a number of resources in the Jacksonville area that provide help for victims of domestic violence.

Hubbard House

The Hubbard House has a hotline open 24/7 with operators who will talk confidentially to anyone experiencing domestic violence or questioning aspects of their relationship. Operators can be contacted at 904-354-3114.

Victim services

The City of Jacksonville's Social Services Division provides referall and victim advocacy services to victims of crime. Services are intended to help reduce trauma associated with domestic violence crimes. Calls made to 904-630-6300 are all confidential.

InVEST (Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team)

InVEST is a program aimed to increase victim safety in the most potentially lethal cases. It's a joint effort by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, City of Jacksonville and Hubbard House.

On a daily basis, InVEST staff review police reports and assess cases for lethal indicators. They then contact the victim to offer services.

Women's Center of Jacksonville

Services at the Women's Center of Jacksonville include peer support groups, counseling and referral services. The center also has a rape recovery team on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help survivors of sexual violence.

LINKS: Women's Center services | Rape recovery team

Trinity Rescue Mission

Trinity Rescue Mission offers services to women who are trying to escape from dangerous circumstances and situations. It's not a certified shelter, but it will provide assistance.

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