Domestic Violence Victims Get Double Dose of Help

The Refuge House and the legal services of north Florida have been working side by side for a few years. Now, both help battered victims gain strength against abusers. The two are tapping into their entrepreneurial skills to generate funds to keep this partnership alive.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in Leon County. Hundreds acquire restraining orders each year for their protection, and just a few years ago those women would have to stand on their own in a county courtroom.

Since Legal Services of North Florida has stepped in, women are gaining ground against abusers having lawyers take over their battles.

In order to keep both programs alive, the cash flow needs to pick up, and both directors hope a thrift store will do the trick.

Dianna Sullivan manages the Apalachee store. She says it's been a rough 11 months, but they're hoping their newest addition, a boutique full of donated items from legal services, will help pick up the pace and eventually help keep these courtrooms empty.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Chamber of Commerce marked the partnership Thursday morning. Money generated from the legal service's donations goes back to that service- and the refuge house gets the rest of the profits.

Also at Friday's ceremony was United Way of the Big Bend, which will receive a percentage of Friday's store sales.