New Florida law for reporting suspected child abuse goes into effect

Published: November 13th, 2012

Category: News

New Florida law for reporting suspected child abuse goes into effect

The Protection of Vulnerable Persons law ups the ante on the state’s previous reporting obligation, requiring anyone who suspects that a child has been abused to report those suspicions to the Florida Abuse Hotline; the reporting requirement formerly applied only when the alleged abuser was the parent or caregiver.

The law also increases the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for failing to report, with financial penalties increasing as well.

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Florida’s new child abuse reporting law among nation’s toughest

Setting the Tone

Florida’s new child-abuse-reporting law is being called the nation’s toughest, and its penalties could have wide-ranging consequences for both universities and ordinary citizens. Colleges and universities that “knowingly and willfully” fail to report suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect — or prevent another person from doing so — now face fines of up to $1 million for each incident. And individuals who fail to report abuse and neglect face felony prosecution and fines up to $5,000.

It was just very important that we had a consistent law that made Florida the only true mandatory-reporting state in the nation — one where everyone is required to report,” said activist Lauren Book, a 27-year-old survivor of long-term childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her nanny. Founder of an advocacy and education organization called Lauren’s Kids, Book was a lead architect of the legislation, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year.


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