Lynn Haven’s City Manager, Michael White, was arrested over the weekend for allegedly pointing a gun at his wife.
Law enforcement officials describe the incident as domestic violence, and often times there are misconceptions about what domestic violence is, or, what victims can do to get help.
Often, when you think about domestic violence, you just think about physical violence.
But Salvation Army Domestic Violence Program Executive Director, Kimberly Garbett, said it can start long before that.
“Physical violence typically happens later on in a relationship where we see that there’s already been issues of power, and control, and psychological and emotional abuse going on,” she said.
Garbett said that many times victims of domestic violence will reach out for help from friends or family, and while it’s not required under law to help them, it could save a life.
“If nothing else, to be that support system and just say ‘hey, I know that there’s some services available if you’re interested,” she said.
The Salvation Army offers help and even shelter to victims of domestic violence.
“What we are here for is to come alongside them and support them, and give them the strength they need to make the decisions that will best benefit them,” Garbett said.
But you can also reach out to law enforcement for help.
Victim advocates, like Chevina Jackson, from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office work around the clock just to help victims of domestic violence.
“If they have a person that is in danger and needs a place to stay, I go out and offer immediate crisis intervention and help them,” Jackson said.
The sheriff’s office then focuses on catching the offenders.
Jackson said right now they’re overseeing about 65 domestic violence cases.
“Usually if a first time offender is adjudicated guilty they can get probation,” she said. “They’re automatically going to get arrested and go to jail, so they’re at least going to spend 1-3 nights in jail.”
Domestic violence professionals say the best thing you can do is support the victim, and hold perpetrators accountable.
If you need help dealing with domestic violence, you can call the Salvation Army’s crisis hotline at (850) 763-0706 or the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 747-4700.