In Florida, domestic violence remains one of the most critical issues affecting our families and our children. We know that the category, “family violence threatens child,” ranks among the top three highest volumes of calls to the Statewide Child Abuse Hotline each year. The annual Florida Uniform Crime Report continues to reflect that about 20 percent of all homicides in our state are the result of domestic violence. That same report illustrated that domestic violence murders increased 6.1 percent last year. Too many women, children, and men are being killed by the person that says they love them the most.
During my time as first lady of Florida, I visited domestic violence shelters throughout the state and spent significant time talking with women and children who fled their homes the night before with nothing but the clothes on their backs. That experience led me to become a founding board member of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Foundation, whose goal is to create a statewide private revenue stream to ensure life-saving services for domestic violence victims and their children and make sure they are less dependent on government resources.