On Monday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody recognized October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by highlighting resources and actions taken to help survivors heal.
In August, Moody took court action requiring the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and its former CEO Tiffany Carr, to repay $5 million misappropriated funds—originally intended to help domestic violence victims. Through this action, Moody is restoring those funds to domestic violence centers across the state and implementing a new system to serve.
“It takes an incredible amount of courage to step out of an abusive environment and seek help. Many victims of domestic violence risk financial instability and loss of income or housing by leaving their abuser. I am pleased that through recent actions, we succeeded in implementing a new system to serve victims of domestic violence and recouped millions in misappropriated funds. I will never stop fighting to ensure domestic violence victims receive the services and help they need to heal in a safe and secure environment,” Moody said on Monday.
Following reports, and a Florida House of Representatives investigation that uncovered millions of dollars in grossly-excessive compensation paid to Carr, Moody took legal action against FCADV and Carr for the misappropriation of public funds and private donations. In response to Moody’s motion, the court appointed a receiver over FCADV and its foundation to control the organization’s assets and property.
The recent settlement agreement is one of many steps Moody is taking to better provide for victims of domestic violence. In April, Moody and the Florida Consortium of Urban League Affiliates launched a new program, Thrive. The program is designed to help young victim of crimes, including domestic violence, through services such as advocacy, assistance with victim emergency needs, basic needs, counseling, relocation services and more.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported cases of domestic violence began skyrocketing following sweeping stay-at-home orders. In April 2020, Moody shared resources available to victims of domestic violence throughout the pandemic, urging anyone isolated with an abuser to contact law enforcement and seek help to escape abuse.
In May 2020, Moody announced a partnership with Uber, offering free rides to help victims of domestic violence escape abuse. Through the program, free Uber rides were directed to domestic violence shelters in areas of Florida that saw the highest call volumes during the stay-at-home orders, including Hillsborough, Orange and Pinellas counties.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, contact local law enforcement immediately by dialing 911.
If you are a survivor, free and confidential legal advice is available through Florida’s Domestic Violence Legal Hotline. Services are offered Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. by calling 1(800) 500-1119. Incoming calls are transferred to a lawyer who can help answer questions and provide free legal advice on family law, housing, injunctions, public benefits and other civil matters and make referrals to other services to help.
For a list of local domestic violence services, including safe shelters and abuse counseling, visit the Florida Attorney General’s Victims Services Directory by clicking here. Many nonprofits are now offering telephone counseling and video sessions for victims who feel safe enough to utilize these services. Options may vary by organization.
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