JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There have been 124 domestic violence arrests in the last 12 days, and 26 of those arrests happened over the weekend, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office inmate page.
And there could be a correlation between the large number of cases and the recent heat wave, according to Jacksonville’s Chief Health Officer.
“With excessive temperatures in general, very cold weather, very hot weather, we do see an increase in psychosis, mood disorder, and people who commit homicides, suicides, and violent crime,” said Dr. Sunil Joshi, the Chief Health Officer for the city of Jacksonville.
Attorney Alex King works on domestic violence cases in Duval County and said he’s definitely seen an uptick.
“And then historically, if you look at it, over the summer months, particularly, it’s hot out, the numbers tend to rise not just in Jacksonville, but nationally,” said King. “Though, this does seem higher than what we’re used to seeing.”
King represents domestic violence victims and those who are accused. He said there is an increase in the number of injunction cases as well.
“I’ve been in court on one of those almost every day, the past two weeks. Judge Fahlgren, who is the judge who handles the vast majority of the injunctions here in Jacksonville, the statistic he shares with everybody before court every morning, is that there will be roughly seven instances of domestic intimate partner violence before people go and get help,” said King.
According to the Hubbard House, an organization serving victims of domestic violence, more than 8,000 people are hurt by domestic violence in Duval County each year.
News4JAX went through some of the recent cases.
One report details a suspect who pushed a child down a hallway. Another describes a woman telling police a man was holding her and her children inside a house, and he hit her in the back of the head, leaving the bed covered in blood. Some victims refused to file domestic violence paperwork and refused to let police take pictures of injuries.
“It is not uncommon, without those resources, for people to feel trapped so they don’t necessarily feel comfortable having police handle it, or they’re afraid there might be retaliation,” said King. “Unfortunately, until it reaches a critical point, people aren’t taking advantage of those resources that are designed to prevent it from getting to that point.”
The Hubbard House said in some situations the victim may feel shame and fear of being judged if they admit to being abused.
King advises using resources like Hubbard House before calling the police, if possible.
“I know we’re only seeing a very small percentage, and then the numbers are very high. It’s not a good thing. It’s not. But unfortunately, until law enforcement tells them about these resources, they come across them in other ways. It’s kind of waiting till it reaches that boiling point in the household,” said King.
Hubbard House Resources:
- 24-HOUR HOTLINE: (904) 354-3114
- 24-HOUR TEXTLINE: (904) 210-3698
- COJ Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (INVEST): (904) 255-3388
- The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, which will direct you to the nearest shelter, is 1-800-500-1119
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE
- The Micah’s Place (Nassau County) Domestic Violence Help Hotline is 904-225-9979
- The Betty Griffin Center in St. Johns County can be reached at 904-824-1555