The Associated Press
6:22 AM EDT, March 30, 2009
TALLAHASSEE - A new report says domestic violence centers in Florida saw an almost 40-percent jump in demand last fall, an increase that experts say is related to the worsening economy.
Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon calls the situation "the worst I've seen in years."
The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence says in its report to the Legislature that when perpetrators are laid off, the severity and frequency of violent assaults increase because the perpetrators are home more often.
Experts say victims are also more likely to be trapped if family and friends are cash-strapped and unable to provide refuge.
State leaders have promised that even amid expected budget cuts, domestic violence funding will be protected.