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Domestic Violence
The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) created the Domestic Violence Unit using a 2 year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, in October 2003. The grant allowed for a collaborative partnership of enforcement and education to combat domestic violence in our community. An emphasis has been placed on serving and reaching out to Gainesville’s traditionally underserved community.

The Domestic Violence Unit consists of two police detectives, Detective Gladys Wright and Detective Corporal Bruce Ferris, and dedicated Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Jennifer Lawrence.

The detectives review all domestic violence cases in the City of Gainesville and follow-up on cases where probable cause exists, but the suspect was not located. The detectives locate and arrest the suspect or obtain an arrest warrant. Detective Wright and Detective Ferris also are involved with enforcement of criminal court pretrial no contact orders and injunction for protection orders. The victim advocate attempts to contact all victims of domestic violence. She assists victims with obtaining protection orders and services, along with counseling, and provides assistance through the legal system proceedings.

Both detectives and the victim advocate are involved in community outreach and speaking engagements. The detectives are very involved with training other GPD officers in domestic violence law enforcement. They are also very active with other local partners including the State Attorney’s Office, Peaceful Paths, the Alachua County Office of Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center, and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

On October 1, 2007 the U.S. Department of Justice awarded an additional 2 year grant to the City for the Domestic Violence Unit. A major component of this new grant is the funding of a new position - Rebuilding Community Outreach Coordinator. This innovative new program is a collaborative partnership between GPD and the Black on Black Crime Task Force. Tracey Hickmon serves as the Rebuilding Community Outreach Coordinator.

The program’s mission/goals/resources are:

  • To educate and empower the domestic violence survivor (a.k.a. Climber).
  • To partner with the community in a coordinated effort to offer support and resources to help Climbers with improving their self-esteem, self-worth, and self-awareness with the goal of changing domestic violence today and for generations to come.
  • Develop Rebuilding communities within underserved population utilizing the life coach method to support Climbers during their journey to a self-sufficient, self-sustained, healed, and productive life.
  • The journey consists of eight workshops on the climb to freedom. The steps include: denial, fear, guilt/rejection, anger/hostility, letting go, self-worth/openness, purpose/transition, and freedom.
  • The short-term goal of the program is for Climbers to complete the program, develop new positive and caring friendships, realize there are consequences for one’s choices and making right choices empowers one to live the life YOU choose.
  • The long-term goal for the Climber is to live a self-sufficient, self-sustained, healed, and productive life with the realization that every choice made today impacts the next generation.
  • Outreach efforts include churches, daycares, apartment complexes, subdivision crime watch meetings, job fairs, and other local events.

Rebuilding communities have been established at Gardenia Gardens, Lewis Place, and Phoenix, along with Reichert House and Oak Park planned for the near future.  Succesful Climbers have stated:

  • “The rebuilding program helps me help myself without controlling me”
  • “My family keeps looking at me saying ‘I don’t know who she is’ and it’s a good thing. I feel empowered to stand up for myself and set some boundaries”
  • “It’s good, but it hurts.”

As the Domestic Violence Unit enters its 6th year, the commitment and dedication to stop domestic violence in our community remains high with an enthusiastic look to the future.

Services Offered (not limited to):

  • Immediate Response and Outreach - Advocates respond to emergency and non-emergency requests from law enforcement for assistance to victims of domestic violence, homicides, death notifications, robberies, and other violent crimes.
  • Counseling Services - Confidential face-to-face and telephone counseling for both victims and their families.
  • Accompany and Support Victims through Criminal Justice Proceedings - Attend appointments and proceedings related to the victimization (e.g. testimonies, depositions, hearings, trials, sentencing, etc.)
  • Assist with Applications for Victim Compensation - Victim Compensation is a fund offered through the Attorney General’s Office to assist victims with medical bills, lost wages, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of the death of a loved one through an act of violence.
  • Transportation to Court Appearances and Other Appointments Related to the Victimization - If needed, advocates will transport victims to criminal justice proceedings, referral sources, and any other appointment related to the victimization.
  • Assist with Protective Injunctions - Advocates will assist victims with filing and obtaining a protective injunction. An injunction for protection can be filed when the victim has reason to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of being victimized further by the batterer or offender. There are four types of injunctions: Dating Violence, Sexual Battery, Domestic Violence, and Repeat Violence. For additional information regarding Protective Injunctions, see Links below.
  • Community Education, Speeches, and Consultation - Advocates attend, participate, and provide trainings, seminars, and workshops within Gainesville and throughout the country. We are always looking for additional ways to provide for our community. It is a priority for the advocates to attend at least one of these events to better serve you. Advocates are also available to give presentations, speeches, and consultations to agencies and organizations.
  • Personal Advocacy - Advocates assist victims with securing rights, remedies, and services from other agencies by making phone calls on behalf of the victim, locating emergency assistance, etc.
  • Information and Referral - We will do our best to identify the victim’s needs and refer him or her to the appropriate community resource.

Domestic Violence Advocate
Jennifer Lawrence
Phone: (352) 393-7691
lawrencejn@cityofgainesville.org


Additonal Information

Domestic Violence Brochure

How to Obtain an Injunction Order
Victim Compensation Forms
Injunction Types (Scroll down to Domestic, Repeat, Sexual and Dating Violence (12.980)