According to the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Duval County (Jacksonville) was one of five counties with the highest rates of domestic violence fatalities in Florida in 2006. As a result, the Florida Attorney General’s Office is expanding a pilot program to deal with the increasing domestic violence fatality crime rates. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, reports of domestic violence-related manslaughter or murder were up 17% from 2006 to 2007 in Florida.
The program is called INVEST (Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team), and it offers prevention and protection services for people considered to be at high risk of suffering a fatal domestic violence attack in Duval County and the other high risk counties. Participants in the program, including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Hubbard House, attempt to identify those at high risk of being victims of a domestic violence fatality and make contact with the victim and the suspected offender to prevent the violence from occurring. The program is actually derived from a similar program created in Jacksonville, Florida where, despite the continued high risk, domestic homicides are down an average of 46% in the seven years since the Jacksonville program has been in place.