CategoriesCommunications LawCriminal LawFamily Law
Domestic violence is an epidemic that is occurring at alarming rates throughout the state of Florida and across the nation. Much of that abuse occurs behind closed doors inside the home where there are no witnesses. Because Florida law does not allow a person to record communications without the consent of everyone else involved, victims are forced to rely on uncorroborated verbal accusations when they report their abuse. Unfortunately, it is difficult to prosecute these cases because they turn into credibility contests where the abuser often has an unfair advantage and has learned how to manipulate the system. If the abuse was serious enough, the victim can rely on visible physical injuries to support her allegations. That is also problematic because it forces victims to use their bodies as evidence when far more effective substitutes are available. This Note demonstrates that, although we claim domestic violence is no longer a private matter, we are effectively keeping it hidden behind closed doors by refusing to let victims record their abuse and then making it exceedingly difficult to prove their allegations without corroboration. The abuser’s right to privacy has become a priority over the victim’s safety. This Note argues that domestic violence victims need the ability to record the abuse they suffer inside the homes they share with their abusers. Finally, this Note proposes a statutory amendment to Florida’s all-party consent law that would achieve this goal.