In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Stacy Butterfield, Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, and the Polk County Board of County Commissioners are signaling support for survivors of domestic violence and reminding residents that the Clerk’s office serves as a resource to people affected by domestic violence.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. In Polk County alone, more than 2,200 cases of domestic violence were reported in 2020. Clerk Butterfield and the Board of County Commissioners recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness month with an official proclamation during the Board’s Oct. 5 meeting.
The Clerk’s office offers assistance to domestic violence survivors by helping them obtain a domestic violence injunction, also known as a restraining order. Protective injunctions force abusers, by law, to stop abuse or threats against domestic violence victims, prevent abusers from coming near or contacting victims, and make abusers leave the home or give temporary custody of children to the victim.
Injunctions are filed both in person at the Bartow Courthouse or online using the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. A team of victim assistants are available at the Bartow Courthouse to assist filers through the process. The Clerk also offers a Do-It-Yourself court filing service that can be used to prepare paperwork from a safe space. Both DIY court filings and filing an injunction are free.
“It is our duty to assist and support as we approach each situation with the seriousness and urgency these victims deserve,” Clerk Butterfield said. “I remain committed to protecting residents who may be suffering from domestic violence. My office actively works to assist victims and ensure justice and safety for victims and their families.”
Clerk Butterfield’s office also partners with the Peace River Center, providing an office for them to meet with victims. Peace River is then able to connect victims to helpful services within the community. During October, the Clerk’s office is hosting a cell phone drive benefitting Peace River Center to ensure those in need have access to reliable communication in emergency situations. The office is also supporting the national Purple Thursday event on Oct. 21 to help raise awareness.
The Clerk’s office encourages all people affected by domestic violence to be aware of these resources to stay safe and achieve justice:
- Contact the Clerk’s office if you need help filing an injunction. Paperwork for filing an injunction request can be prepared and filed online with the Clerk’s DIY court filings service and the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, or in person at the Bartow Courthouse.
- The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s (FCADV) Domestic Violence Hotline is available in Spanish, English and Creole at 1-800-500-1119 (TTY 1-800-621-4202). This hotline provides support and advocacy for survivors 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and assistance finding shelter, support groups and more.