ORLANDO, Fla. – Advocates for domestic violence survivors are speaking out after several recent cases of violence in the Orlando-area.
“It’s scary and it’s sad because we have seen the level of lethality increasing. We have seen more people coming in who have been stabbed, who have survived strangulation, who have had severe physical abuse,” Harbor House Marketing Manager Laura Lucy said.
On Monday, Alberto Rivero-Milia was arrested after police said he shot and killed a man that was with his ex-wife outside an immigration office in Orlando.
A week prior, News 6 spoke to a woman who said she’s lucky to be alive after she was attacked and stabbed several times in a downtown Orlando parking garage. Orlando Police arrested her ex-boyfriend Alexis Colon. Investigators said he paid an acquaintance $100 to hurt her because he was upset.
Orlando police say both incidents are domestic related.
“It’s a big step to unravel that relationship and get out, but there is life beyond the bruises,” said Lucy.
Harbor House is an organization that provides resources for domestic violence survivors. Lucy said since the pandemic, the need for their services has increased.
Last year, nearly 6,500 calls were made to their hotline. Since the pandemic, 300 adults and more than 300 children have stayed in their emergency shelters.
Lucy is encouraging survivors to make the call to Harbor House to speak with an advocate and create a safe exit plan. Contact the Harbor House Crisis Hotline 24 hours a day at 407-886-2856. They also have a confidential texting option.
“You can get advice and start safely planning because when you leave an abusive relationship, it’s often the most dangerous time. We can help you create a plan on how to safely leave,” said Lucy.
Harbor House not only offers emergency shelters for domestic violence survivors and their children. They also have court advocates to help with injunctions, financial literacy programs and they have a pet shelter.