Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

October 11, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Gillespie
DCF Press Secretary, (850) 459-2063

~ Secretary Wilkins delivers live Webcast during Domestic Violence Awareness Month ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – The Florida Department of Children and Families joins law enforcement agencies, victims’ advocates, shelter providers and others in the child welfare community during the month of October to fight the problem of domestic violence across the state of Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott has proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last year, there were more than 84,000 calls about domestic violence incidents involving children made to the Florida Abuse Hotline, amounting to 20 percent of the total calls to the hotline regarding child abuse or neglect. In 2010, there were also 191 domestic violence homicides in Florida, more than one every other day.

We know that domestic violence not only hurts the victims, it also impacts their children, extended family, community and the entire state,” said Secretary David Wilkins. "Our Department is working diligently with partners across each community in Florida to bring awareness to this cause, to prevent this cycle of abuse and to support each victim with what is needed to live a happy, healthy life."

To help these children and the parent who is a victim of domestic violence, the Department this year began providing an intensive training to our child protection investigators called the “Safe and Together Model.” This approach enables the entire child welfare community to evaluate families and develop plans to keep children and victims safe, while holding the perpetrator accountable. By doing this, many children have been able to stay safely in their own home with a parent instead of being placed in foster care.

Secretary Wilkins led a live Webcast on Tuesday to talk with child welfare and domestic violence professionals statewide about this new training, the partnerships our agency has formed and the hard work that is being done to fight domestic violence. The Webcast roundtable also included Trula Motta, director of DCF’s Office of Domestic Violence; Emery Gainey, the Division Director of Law Enforcement, Victim Services and Criminal Justice Programs for the Office of the Attorney General; and Tiffany Carr, the CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

For more information about domestic violence in Florida or to see the Webcast, visit DCF’s Office of Domestic Violence online at For immediate assistance on domestic violence, please call the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or go to To report child abuse or neglect, call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.