Resources available to victims
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but this issue affects individuals 365 days a year.
In Florida, there are more than 100,000 domestic violence cases reported each year. One in four women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence. Child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in families where domestic violence occurs. Those who witness domestic violence as a child are more than likely to become teen bullies and adult abusers themselves.
While domestic violence may include physical abuse, it also includes emotional, verbal, sexual and financial abuse.
If you see the shame, pain or fear, what can you do to help? Help assist with resources. Domestic violence petition forms are available at the Florida Supreme Court website, flcourts.org, under the "Resources and Services" tab. Click on the "Family Law" section.
Additionally, Are You Safe Inc., or RUSAFE, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide free legal and social services to victims of domestic violence in Hillsborough County. Once the victim has obtained a temporary injunction, he or she will be asked to send a copy to RUSAFE. The organization's Domestic Violence Injunction Committee will review the petition and determine if the organization is able to provide free legal services on the date of the injunction hearing. RUSAFE, unlike many other domestic violence organizations, provides free legal assistance to victims whose financial status is 300 percent above poverty guidelines.
I also encourage victims, their loved ones, friends or co-workers to call the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at toll-free 1-800-500-1119.
Cissy Sevelin, Tampa
The writer is a volunteer attorney for RUSAFE, Bay Area Legal Services and Crossroad for Florida Kids. She is also a Guardian ad Litem in the 13th Judicial Circuit.
Devious anti-solar plot exposed Oct. 23, editorial
Three justices must go
This editorial, in addition to all your other reporting, does a great job of exposing the power company-sponsored fraud that's being perpetrated against the people of Florida. You correctly talk about the intentionally misleading wording used in the ballot description for Amendment 1. Good job.
However, at the same time you're performing this valuable public service, you recommend the retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices who approved the wording on the ballot. Those justices are Charles Canady, Jorge Labarga and Ricky Polston.
How can you justify these two contradictory positions?
Alfred T. Barnard, Beverly Hills
Reject all the amendments
The current debacle surrounding this election cycle's Amendment 1 on solar power is one reason my wife and I have made it a policy to vote no on every constitutional amendment ballot initiative. While the constitutional amendment process appears to be a good way to give power back to the people, it is sometimes fraught with dangerous implications.
Special-interest groups will often craft the detailed language of a ballot initiative to hide its true intent.
While the normal legislative process can be frustrating, long and cumbersome, it does provide checks and balances, and also allows for a much easier change to any enacted law if found later to be necessary.
Laws from ballot initiatives that become imbedded in Florida's state Constitution are almost impossible to repeal or change, so therefore they should be avoided.
David Pearce, Tampa
What if Trump loses?
Here is what I think will or could happen if Donald Trump loses the election.
Trump has reached out to a new political segment of our population. He is neither a Republican conservative nor a Democratic liberal. Trump represents the thinking of a truly new political force. The tea party started this movement but was not inclusive and too conservative to actually become a party.
If Trump loses, I believe his followers will be positioned to start a new political party that actually includes and has the support of senators, congressmen, governors, state legislators and mayors.
I am a former Democratic state representative who was no longer satisfied with the party's liberal positions. I joined the Republicans but had similar problems with some of their extreme positions.
Trump represents a more central political position for those not pleased with the current Democratic and Republican officeholders.
If a new party emerges, it may become the dominant political party in America.
Joseph J. Farricielli, Singer Island
Meet in the middle
In these strange times when we hear only from the extremes, I am tempted to update Winston Churchill's famous quote as follows:
"If a person is not a liberal at 20 they have no heart; if they are not a conservative at 40 they have no brain; but if they are not a moderate at 60 they have neither brain nor heart."
Arthur A. McTighe, Tierra Verde