FT. MYERS, Fla.--()--Florida today enacted the toughest child abuse reporting law in the nation, a law that advocates say “raises the bar and sets a national standard for child protection.”
“raises the bar and sets a national standard for child protection.”
SB 1816, today signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott, declares that reporting suspected child abuse is everyone’s responsibility, not just the responsibility of a few professions. It also imposes stiff penalties that ensure institutions will put the wellbeing of children over the protection of their own reputations if a child is abused on their grounds or at their sanctioned events.
Longtime childhood sexual abuse survivor Lauren Book called Florida’s new law “a giant step toward creating a state where sexual abuse and exploitation of children is not tolerated.”
Book was sexually abused by her family’s nanny from age 11 to 17. Since then, she created a foundation, Lauren’s Kids, dedicated to ending child sexual abuse, created an abuse prevention curriculum, “Safer, Smarter Kids,” and worked to change the law to prevent child abuse.
“At a time when the eyes of the nation are riveted on the Jerry Sandusky trial, I have never been more proud to be a Floridian or more hopeful that we can create a society where children are safe from abuse,” Book said. “This is a courageous act by Florida’s leaders to protect the defenseless and end the plague that is child abuse.”
Lauren's Kids is a non-profit organization in South Florida that works to prevent sexual abuse through education and awareness and helps survivors heal.