Support a Child Victims Act in Florida
Dear Gov. Scott and All Members of the Florida Legislature:
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unknown sex abusers of children living and working among us -- in schools, churches, synagogues, youth groups, and especially in families. To find and pursue them, our legislators must change the statute of limitations (SOL).
According to the FBI, 1 in 5 of ALL children are sexually abused before they are 18. Many predators are life-long abusers, with as many as 100 victims. Yet, only 10% of this abuse is ever reported to authorities.
This epidemic is made worse by those who have criminally covered up for abusers and are themselves shielded by the state's statute. For example, Special grand juries in Suffolk and Westchester have uncovered orchestrated criminal actions by religious institutions using deception and intimidation to delay victims from legal recourse until the statute of limitations expired.
There is One Proven Way to Discover Abusers and those Who Cover up.
A proposed NYS Child Victims Act which also provides for most of the teeth of this Florida proposal (see www.nychildvictismact.org) is premised upon the suggested remedy of the Suffolk County Special Grand Jury, which stated, "...the NYS legislature should enact a statute similar to the state of California that revives civil actions for damages for a period of one year...."
When California enacted a similar law, it discovered more than 300 undetected predators. Delaware, a much smaller state, has discovered more than 60. Given that predators have multiple victims, thousands of children have now been protected in just these two pioneering states.
Florida's Children Deserve this Protection.
A Child Victims Act would:
Enable the detection of UNKNOWN AND SHIELDED predators by suspending the statute of limitations for just one year.
Provide justice for victims who were unfairly or criminally denied their day in court.
Provide additional time for future victims to overcome their trauma, extending the SOL age.
Save our state extensive financial and social costs by reducing the number of victims and abusers. Studies show child sexual abuse cost some states over $1 billion every year.
We the undersigned urge the Florida legislature to enact legislation that would address these concerns and stiffen civil penalties on those who shield abusers.