Local leaders kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Orlando

Harbor House launches new campaign to help survivors

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Local leaders and law enforcement officials came together on Wednesday in an effort to raise awareness about domestic violence.

During the event at Orlando Police Department headquarters, Harbor House of Central Florida launched its new "I am" campaign.

The organization said the campaign is designed for the community at large to show its support to survivors of domestic violence.

"I'm here to tell you that there can be a positive outlook at the end of domestic violence. There is life beyond the bruises," Harbor House CEO Michelle Sperzel said.

At Wednesday's event, Mayor Jerry Demings said Orange County had the highest number of domestic violence cases across the state in 2018.  With the recent increase, an announcement was made that the Domestic Violence Commission would be reconvening.

Demings said the commission is designed to assess any gaps in services, identify issues and recommend solutions to domestic violence.

Raquel Gonzalez, who is a domestic violence survivor, said she applauds the decision and has dedicated her life to supporting others coming from similar situations.

"I'm here for them and there's so many of us here for them to help them out," Gonzalez said. "I wouldn't be able to be as happy as I am today if it wasn't for all the help and support that I've had."

The Domestic Violence Commission will meet for the first time on Oct. 21 at the Orange County Administration Building.

For details on how to seek help from domestic violence, visit harborhousefl.com.

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