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Orange County Reconvenes Domestic Violence Commission

January 22, 2013 | WMFE - Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs joined other lawmakers Tuesday to announce the re-formation of a special panel to examine domestic violence issues.

The first commission put forward recommendations in 2005 and helped bring about changes like a special court and new ways for victims to seek injunctions.

A recent spike in the number of domestic violence related murders led lawmakers to reconvene the commission. 

Carol Wick of Orange County’s domestic violence shelter Harbor House says a new commission will meet February 8th in the wake of murders like the one in September, when the ex-boyfriend of 44-year-old Marcia Santiago walked into her Casselberry hair salon and shot four people, and later himself. 

“We decided to reconvene the Domestic Violence Commission because we had twelve deaths just since September, where people were murdered not only by their intimate partner, but because they happened to be getting their hair done, or they were standing next to a coworker,” says Wick. “And so we know that domestic violence is not something that’s just happening behind closed doors anymore.” 

Wick and Mayor Jacobs were joined by Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, and State Attorney Jeff Ashton to announce the project. But ideally, Wick says, the commission can come up with some solutions involving community awareness and early intervention, so less law enforcement is needed.

“How do we reach these people before their life is in danger?” Wick asks. It’s a question she hopes the commission can try to answer.

The panel’s recommendations are expected in May.


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