No One, not even someone you live with, has the right to hit you or threaten you with violence. There are laws to protect you. If you are being physically or sexually abused or threatened by a family or household member you may be a victim of domestic violence. You need not be married to the abuser or related to be protected under the law. Family or household member is defined as any spouse, former spouse, person related by blood or marriage, or any other household member who is or was living in the same household as you. In addition, the law also protects you from abuse by a person with whom you have a child in common. There is help! If you feel you are in immediate danger dial 911.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office Victim Advocate is available 24 hours 7 days a week to assist those in need. If you or someone you know are in a domestic violence situation please contact Victim Advocate, Chevina Jackson at (850) 248-2125 or (850) 747-4700 after 5pm.
The Intimate Violence Enhanced Service Team (InVEST) is a unique program designed to provide assistance to individuals identified to be in potentially lethal situations. Based on a community coordinated response model, members of the InVest team include an investigator and advocates who work together to create a comprehensive victim safety system, including survivor safety plans and batterer intervention programs. This unique model allows law enforcement and domestic violence centers to work together to identify high risk victims and to possibly reduce the threat of further victimization. The InVEST program is sponsored by a grant through Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV).
For more information on BCSO's InVEST team, please contact Lieutenant Koren Colbert of the Criminal Investigations Division at (850) 747-4700, Monday through Friday, 8 am – 5 pm.
Protection from Domestic Violence
If you have been abused physically or sexually, or have reason to fear you may become a victim of domestic violence, Florida law enables you to file for a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence; it explains your situation to the judge and tells the court from whom you need protection. An Injunction For Protection is a court document that states a particular person must not have contact with another person. You are eligible for an Injunction for Protection if you have lived with the abuser at some time and were recently the victim of abuse and/or threatened with abuse by the abuser.
To file for an injunction you must go, in person, to the Bay County Juvenile Justice Courthouse at 533 E 11th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401. The Bay County Clerk's Office is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Calling Unified Family Court (Domestic Violence) at 850-747-5165 to schedule an appointment time will reduce long wait times.
Domestic Violence Resources
Domestic Violence Program
1824 W 15th Street, Panama City, Florida 32405
24-Hour Crisis Line
Toll Free 1-800-252-2597
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV)
Phone: 1-800-500-1119 / 24 hours a day
FCADV serves as the professional association for Florida's 42 domestic violence centers. The mission of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is to work towards ending violence through public awareness, policy development, and support for Florida's domestic violence centers. FCADV operates Florida's toll-free domestic violence hotline (1-800-500-1119), linking callers to the nearest domestic violence center and provides translation assistance when needed.