New Line of Defense: New Line of Defense
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.