Lauren’s Kids has taken proactive efforts to make Florida a safer place through advocacy for the passage of State Laws that protect and help victims heal and become survivors.
2014: Florida Legislature’s “Protecting Florida’s Vulnerable” Initiative:
- Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators: Strengthens civil commitment process by raising standards and increasing accountability in the DCF evaluation process for determining whether an offender meets criteria for commitment to the Sexually Violent Predator Program
- Sexually Violent Predators: Creates enhanced standards for the membership of the DCF multidisciplinary team (MDT), whose duty is to assess whether convicted sexual offenders meet the clinical definition of a sexually violent predator, and requires additional annual training for all members of MDT; Requires private and public colleges and universities to inform students and employees about FDLE’s sexual predator and offender registry website and toll-free telephone number that gives access to sexual predator and offender information
- Sex Offenders: Allows for better tracking of sex offenders/sexually violent predators by requiring them to provide expanded information to law enforcement, such as Internet usernames, tag numbers for all vehicles and passports
- Sexual Offenses and Protection for Victims: Imposes a mandatory sentence of 50 years for those convicted of the rape or torture of children, seniors or individuals with a disability; Expands the court’s ability to allow use of service and therapy animals to aid a child victim or witness in a sexually motivated crime; Eliminates current statutory time limitation for bringing a criminal prosecution for lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of a child less than 16 years old; Eliminates incentive gain-time eligibility for sexually violent offenses; Mandate community supervision of sex offenders who do not receive the maximum prison sentence through split sentencing, tolls community supervision period of SVPs in civil commitment to preserve the period of supervision until release from detention or commitment
2013: Expanding the Hearsay Exception to Adolescent Victims of Sexual Abuse: Allows an out of court statement made by a victim up to the age of 16, describing certain sex crimes, as admissible as evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding dependent upon certain findings of the court.
2013: Lauren’s Kids Specialty License Plate: Approved the creation and sale of a Lauren’s Kids specialty license plate. Proceeds from the sale of the plates will go toward the prevention of sexual abuse through awareness and education and to help survivors heal with guidance and support.
2012: Protection of Vulnerable Persons: Created in response to the Penn State Scandal. Requires that all Floridians report known or suspected child abuse and if a report is not made, the non-reporter will be charged with a 3rd degree felony. Also requires that Colleges and Universities report abuse or face up to a $1 million fine. Florida is the only state to do so.
2011: Walk in Their Shoes Act:Expands the admissibility of collateral crime or “similar fact” evidence in cases where a person is charged with child molestation or a sexual offense.
2010: Eliminating Statute of Limitations/State Law: Eliminates the Statute of Limitations for both civil and criminal prosecutions for crimes committed against children under 16, related to Sexual Assault.
2010: Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Voluntary Contribution/State Law:Raises funds to fight childhood sexual abuse through voluntary driver’s license and registration renewals by a voluntary donation of $1 or more.
2009: Legislation to Create Children’s Safety Zones: Prohibits convicted offenders and predators from loitering within 300 feet of a school, school bus stop, parks or similar locations.
2009: Law Enforcement Victim Notification System/State Law: Requires that law enforcement officials must inform victims of sexual assault as to where they can receive treatment and care.
2008: Employment Protections for Victims of Sexual Violence. Allows victims of sexual violence to take up to three days of leave, which is paid or unpaid at the discretion of the employer, to deal with issues arising from the crime.
2007: Forensic Exams for Non-Reporting Victims: Ensures that physical evidence of a sexual assault is collected immediately, while allowing victims of sexual assault time to make a decision about whether to report their abuse. This law also prohibits asking/requiring victims of sexual assault to undergo a polygraph exam or exam by other truth-telling device as a condition of proceeding with a sexual battery investigation.
2006: Cybersex Crimes/State Law: Increases penalties for cybersex violators including increased penalties for pedophiles.
2004: Lauren Book Protection Act/State Law: Makes it a felony for offenders to contact their victims or the victim’s family after conviction.
2003: HIV Testing Law/State Law: Assures victims, or in the case of a minor, the victim’s family can get a timely HIV test of the accused (within a 48 hour time period).
2003: Residency Restrictions/Local ordinances: Sets a 2,500 foot distance from where predators and offenders may live from schools, parks, day care centers, and places where children congregate.
2003: Sexual Assault Treatment Centers/State Law: Creates a statewide fund for Sexual Assault Treatment Centers, with a funding mechanism and funding grants. This network assures that all Floridians have access to quality sexual assault treatment facilities and qualified sexual assault treatment counselors.
Lauren’s Kids continues to work very hard through our legislative initiatives all of which are intended not only to protect our children, but to provide victims with knowledge and an understanding that it’s always ok to tell!