Florida Senator Lauren Book (D) has announced that she has filed SB 946, which would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for sex crimes committed against children. A companion bill, HB 23, has also been introduced by Rep. Michael Gottlieb (D).
In a statement, Rep. Book commented that “fear, guilt, confusion, and shame often keep victims of child sexual abuse silent for years – and the scars last a lifetime.” However, “when these survivors find their voices, they deserve to be heard – whatever the timeline.”
Book, herself a survivor of sexual assault, “began advocating for survivors of sexual abuse in 2002 – long before becoming a member of the Florida Senate, following physical, emotional, and sexual abuse perpetrated by a trusted caretaker.” As a result, “she has worked to prevent abuse through education and awareness and help survivors heal with guidance and support.”
As mentioned by her office, “seventy-five percent of victims of child sexual abuse don’t tell anyone for a year, 45 percent have still not disclosed after 5 years, and many stay silent for a decade or more – as seen in the highly publicized cases of the Catholic Church, USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, Jerry Sandusky, and others.”
Because “sexual abuse is the most under-reported violent crime,” Book is working in the Florida Senate to ensure that the voices of the assaulted are not taken away regardless of the time that has passed since the assault.