Please note that this is not intended to serve as legal advice. I am not an attorney, just a mom who works in our judicial system and wants to share helpful and meaningful resources.
I want to start by saying that this topic isn’t easy. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, I am so sorry. I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through. You are strong and brave and I commend you for even wanting to read this. As stated before, this is not intended to serve as legal advice. I am just a mom, daughter, and friend who hopes that these resources help even if its just a little bit.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT
Our 11th Judicial Circuit has an entire unit devoted to Domestic Violence. Judges hear civil cases (Domestic Violence injunctions, also known as restraining orders) and criminal cases (where a person has been arrested for a misdemeanor charge with a domestic violence component). Whether you are the accused or the victim, our Circuit has a user-friendly website that is filled with what steps you should take next.
If you are seeking to file a Domestic Violence Injunction, there are 5 different courthouses you can go to for assistance:
Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center: 175 N.W. 1 Ave. Miami, Florida 33128
North Dade Justice Center: 15555 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, Florida 33160
South Dade Justice Center: 10710 S.W. 211 St. Cutler Bay, Florida 33189
Hialeah Courthouse: 11 East 6 St. Hialeah, Florida 33010
Joseph Caleb Center: 5400 N.W. 22 Ave. Miami, Florida 33142
Here you will find what to expect when you go to in person to file for a Domestic Violence Injunction/Restraining Order. Please note that pre AND post-COVID, our courthouses have been open for Domestic Violence filing. ALL filings must be done in person as filings cannot be done over the phone or email.
CHILD RELATED AMENITIES
Domestic Violence cases not only affect the victim, but family units as a whole. There are often times sensitive issues with childcare. Through partnership with the YMCA, the 11th Judicial Circuit offers childcare, known as Court Care, for children ages infant to 12 years old free of charge at the following courthouses:
Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center: 175 N.W. 1 Ave. Room: 1125 Miami, Florida 33128 Hours of Operation: 9:00AM-5:00PM
Caleb Joseph Center: 5400 N.W. 22 Ave. Room: 301 Miami, Florida 33142
There are other courthouses in Miami-Dade County that also offer court care and can be utilized while in any of the other courthouses while handling other cases, apart from Domestic Violence. You can find the specific locations and hours of operation here.
Our courthouses now have Lactations Rooms specifically with nursing mommas in mind! These rooms are made possible by the joint collaborations of Miami-Dade County, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers – Miami-Dade Chapter, and the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. You can find the rules, locations and specifics here.
Administrative Judge of Unified Children’s Court Division, the Honorable Orlando Prescott and Administrative Judge of Domestic Violence Division, the Honorable Carroll Kelly have created an informative video that helps explain the Effects of Exposure of Domestic Violence on Babies and Children. “In this video, you will learn the severe and lasting negative impact that exposure to domestic violence has on babies and children.”
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
Apart from the Court and the Clerk’s Office, the Coordinate Victims Assistance Center (CVAC) is also available for assistance. They can help with transportation, safe shelter, advocacy support, emergency food and clothing and more. In each police department, there are Victim Advocates available to provide guidance for victims. All of these representatives are highly trained and skilled in the area of Domestic Violence and work closely with community-based organizations, hospitals, other municipalities and the Rape Treatment Center to ensure quality service for victims.
IMPORTANT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PHONE NUMBERS
Florida Domestic Violence 24-Hour Crisis Hotline:
Miami-Dade County Coordinated Victims Assistance Center: 305-285-5900
Advocates for Victims/Safespace Hotline – Central:
Advocates for Victims/Safespace Hotline – North:
LOVE SHOULD NOT HURT
Miamidade.gov says it best: “Remember, if an individual has abused you physically or sexually, or if you have good reason to fear that this person is about to be violent toward you, the law in Florida enables you to get a judge to order the abuse to stop.” As cliche as it may sound the reality is: LOVE SHOULD NOT HURT. As beautifully stated in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind…”
You are not alone. There is help available. There are resources and people who CARE. You deserve the respect and all the love for yourself and your family. You’re worthy and you are brave. We are hopeful that you find the strength you have within you, with the bit of resources available for you.
Big hugs, Momma.