Children should be protected and not harmed. Sadly, child abuse in Tampa, throughout Florida, and all around this nation occurs at alarming rates. In order to combat this, the state of Florida adopted new child abuse reporting laws to help protect children.
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1816 into law, which mandates reporting suspected child abuse. Where it used to be only a few professions were required to report child abuse, now it is everyone’s responsibility to report suspected child abuse in Florida.
This is now the toughest child-abuse reporting law in the U.S., which sets the bar high for the rest of the nation in helping to protect children from abuse. This new law also imposes stiff penalties for institutions if child abuse occurs on their grounds or at a sanctioned event. This is to ensure that the institution will put children’s wellbeing ahead of the institutional reputation. For example, if a school or church was aware of child abuse and failed to report it for the sake of their reputation, criminal penalties may be sought.
Lauren Book, a childhood sexual abuse survivor, said “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.” It is “a giant step toward creating a state where sexual abuse and exploitation of children is not tolerated.”
After surviving sexual abused by her nanny from age 11 to 17, Book went on to create a foundation in South Florida called Lauren’s Kids, which works to change the law and help prevent child abuse through education and awareness.
Our Florida child-abuse attorneys at Mallard Perez are pleased to announce this new reporting law and hope more people start reporting suspected child abuse to protect children.