Deadly domestic violence incidents on the rise in Tampa Bay area

TAMPA, Fla. — New numbers obtained by ABC Action News shed light on a dangerous trend hitting the Tampa Bay area. 

Local anti-domestic violence advocates say more victims are dying at the hands of their abusive partners. 

"I was in fear. I was in fear for my life and I still am today."

ABC Action News spoke with a survivor of domestic violence who filed an injunction for protection last month. She says Hillsborough County has yet to serve her attacker. 

We are not naming the victim in an effort to keep her safe. 

"I need to prepare myself and make sure I take all avenues to make sure I'm safe for me and my children," said the survivor of domestic violence. 

"The reality is it's an incredibly dangerous time and an injunction is just a piece of paper," said Mindy Murphy, CEO and President of The Spring of Tampa Bay. 

Murphy urges all survivors to visit a certified domestic violence center to seek legal help and create a safety plan. 

Records obtained from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show there were 12 victims of domestic violence who were killed in 2017. That number increased 71% from the previous year. 

According to The Spring of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County law enforcement responded to 350 domestic violence calls in the first ten days of September. A typical month in Hillsborough County averages 400 calls for service. 

"Reach out, do what you have to do to protect yourself," said the survivor. "If you have children, protect your children. Don't take it lightly." 

If you need help, call the 24-hour Spring of Tampa Bay crisis hotline at (813) 247-7233. 

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