Domestic Violence Locally: How Common is it in Bay County?

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - The Bay County Sheriff's Office estimates that around 40-50 people are arrested every month for domestic violence.

But Lt. Koren Colbert with the BCSO Domestic Violence Unit, said the majority of cases go unreported, which leaves room for the violence to get out of hand.

Lt. Koren explained that that's why they created the domestic violence unit several years ago.

"In 2011-2012 we actually had six domestic violence homicides that were back to back to back to back," she said.

Now the unit sees around 260-300 reports every month.

"We get involved when it starts raising to the elevation of threats, assaults to do violence, physical violence," she said.

It's been shown in numerous headlines that domestic violence can lead to extreme circumstances like homicide.

Which is why Lt. Colbert said she encourages anyone who is, or thinks they are, a victim of this abuse to report it.

"We want to help any victims -- we have a victim advocate that can respond 24/7 to situations, there are resources in the community that can help, if the female needs shelter," she said.

Lt. Colbert said it's not only the men and women who are being abused that are affected.

Often times children who witness the violence suffer as well.

"It sets an example for modeling behavior, so they could grow up thinking this is a normal relationship and then end up being an abuser in their adult life."

Because children can be permanently or temporarily displaced as a result of these relationships, the unit is supplying backpacks filled with comforting goodies like blankets and books to help them.

"They are intended for children who's mother has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault," Lt. Colbert said.

To end domestic violence, she said the justice system must hold abusers accountable, and change society's mindset on this kind of violence.

To learn what some of the signs of domestic violence are click here.

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