The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that in 2018 there were about 105,000 crimes of domestic violence reported to Florida law enforcement agencies. It is speculated that a large percentage of domestic violence cases go unreported for fear of retaliation from the abuser.
On October 3, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw spoke at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month opening ceremony. “This issue is important to us for twelve months of the year. We dedicate a tremendous amount of resources to not only having to handle these issues, but to find and prevent.”
About six years ago, under Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, PBSO developed their Domestic Violence Unit. The behavioral sciences unit has specially trained deputies and mental health professionals that are working to not only address current issues but to prevent future domestic abuse. “It’s anger management, substance abuse, mental health issues, it’s these all wrapped into one. This is not just something that all-of-a-sudden pops up overnight. This is an ongoing process,” say Sheriff Bradshaw.
Ever since the Domestic Violence Unit started about six years ago, many departments across the country are replicating the program. “In fact, it’s going to be replicated across the United States,” states Sheriff Bradshaw.
Sheriff Bradshaw and PBSO understand the importance of having professionals getting involved with these families and addressing abuse issues early on to prevent cycling. For families that experience this abuse, it’s often difficult for children and teenagers to differentiate these experiences from the norm, thus carrying on the abuse to their families and future generations. Understanding the process and working with professionals to prevent future families from suffering is just part of the method for limiting these cases.
With the understanding that domestic violence cannot be simply fixed overnight, Sheriff Bradshaw addresses the progress that has already been made: “This is a process. This unit has done extremely good work, we’re proud of it. I think it’s going to make a difference in the long run. You have our commitment that we’re going to be involved in this and dedicate all the resources we possibly can.”