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Broward Leaders Form Strategy To Stop Domestic Violence

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — The number of fatal domestic violence cases in Broward County is on the rise and officials there are trying to do something about it.

Thursday, Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, state prosecutors, leaders from the Department of Children and Families, and domestic violence prevention advocates gathered to announce the formation of community-wide strategy to address and fill gaps in the systems for those battered and abused by their spouses or partners.

Its a scenario Christina Spudeas knows all too well. The former Broward County Prosecutor said she became the victim of domestic violence back in the 1980's at the hands of her ex-husband, also a prosecutor.

"I was only able to pull away when I was severely injured," recalled Spudeas. "I had to have surgery I have pins and a plate in my ankle. I had a broken leg and a dislocated ankle."

The beating that landed her in the hospital was the wake up call that finally prompted Spudeas to leave her husband and say enough is enough. Only then did she realize the impact the abuse had on the couple's two young children.

"They were basket cases," she said. "I don't know how else to put it. My children were greatly affected."

But they all survived. That is more than many domestic violence victims can say lately in Broward County.  That is why local advocates and authorities are trying to study the issue and look at potential preventative solutions.

There was a 30 percent increase in the number of children who were victims of domestic violence in Broward County between Oct. 2009 and Sept. 2011. The Domestic Violence Workgroup's Call will meet over the next several months and focus on beefing up prevention and intervention services.

Broward has a unique agreement with the sheriff's office to report all domestic violence injunctions to the state child abuse hotline. Officials say getting that information up-front leads to more complete investigations.

Other counties are exploring similar arrangements.

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