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More than 4,000 domestic violence arrests made in NW FL in 2017

More than 4,000 domestic violence arrests made in NW FL in 2017

Domestic violence is the center of a national ongoing conversation. This week, the Trump administration is in the spotlight after background checks uncovered one of the president's top aides has been accused of domestic abuse. Rob Porter resigned last week after two of his ex-wives told the FBI that he physically abused them. Porter has continually denied the allegations.

In Northwest Florida, we've seen two cases of potential domestic violence in just the past few days.

A Pensacola man has been charged with trying to kill his live-in girlfriend. According to an arrest report, the victim told Escambia County deputies that Gregory Taylor shot her in the abdomen four times.

On Friday, an Ensley woman was murdered outside her neighbor's home. Neighbors said Mary Ellen Williams was in an abusive and controlling relationship. Her boyfriend, Patrick Smith, has been charged in her death.

The State Attorney's Office said there were more than 4,000 domestic violence arrests in Northwest Florida in 2017. That's more than 10 a day.

There are resources for the victims to escape and keep their children safe.

The Favor House is a shelter for abused victims in Santa Rosa and Escambia counties.They try to make it easier for them to leave and will help victims make a plan, transport them there, and allow victims and their children to stay there for free.

They also help victims start their lives over.

The executive director of the Favor House, Sue Hand, said, "We have economic, legal, counseling, support, education, all that is provided. Last year, we had 170 kids come to shelters with their moms."

What can you do as a friend? Listen and let them know that there are resources available.

For Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, the crisis hotline for the Favor House is (850) 434-6600.

For Okaloosa and Walton counties, the crisis hotline for the Shelter House is (850) 863-4777.

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