Jacksonville based domestic violence program seeks out survivors, holds abusers accountable

Action News Jax Ryan Nelson sits down with a local program that hopes to help bring an end to domestic violence.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — October is domestic violence awareness month. Friday, Action News Jax visited a secure Hubbard House shelter to discuss a program called ‘Invest.'

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As part of the program, a Hubbard House staff member is tasked with evaluating police reports and determining which crimes are most likely to result in a domestic related homicide.

In turn, Hubbard staff proactively seek out survivors in order to share available resources with them as soon as possible following an attack.

Marie Colee, a local survivor of domestic violence, spoke about her firsthand experience.

"I suffered for 22 years," she said. "First it was verbal abuse, then it was emotional abuse, then it became physical. Quite quickly actually."

She's now an advocate and speaks openly about her experiences.

Police officers at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office are also part of the program. Their jobs are to check up on abusers who have been issued restraining orders to ensure they're in compliance.

"JSO will follow up with the perpetrators where the law allows it," said Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin.

Patin explained why they consider the program a success.

"It's transformative because we are reaching people that haven't necessarily reached out to us for help," she explained.

Colee feels the program is necessary to save the lives of those suffering at home.

"I had no way to follow up with it, to make sure that my perpetrator was following the rules," she said.

The Hubbard House encourages anyone who may be suffering from domestic abuse to call its hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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