Latest measure in package of bills by Book championing
women’s issues, advocacy for survivors of sexual assault
Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) has filed a bill to grant a one-year “lookback window” for victims of child sexual abuse, advocating for what could be a watershed moment for survivors of sexual assault by allowing cases with an expired statute of limitations to be brought forth for one year. In addition to the lookback provision, SB 1184 would also entirely eliminate the civil statute of limitations for sex crimes against children moving forward. Earlier this year, the Governor of New York signed a similar bill into law.
“Fear, guilt, confusion and shame often keep victims of child sexual abuse silent for years – and the scars last a lifetime,” says Senator Book, a survivor and accomplished sexual assault prevention advocate. “When these survivors find their voices, they deserve to be heard – whatever the timeline.”
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. Sexual abuse is the most under-reported violent crime.
SB 1184 is the latest in a series of bills introduced by Senator Book to address sexual assault and women’s issues in the state of Florida, including measures to end the rape kit backlog, ensure the availability of emergency contraception for survivors of sexual assault, and to prevent fertility fraud.
Senator Book has recently made headlines throughout the state over the last several months the midst of explosive reports surrounding serial sex predator Jeffrey Epstein and failures of Palm Beach County officials, successfully calling for Governor Ron DeSantis to launch a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into the miscarriage of justice.
Senator Book 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. Since that time, she has worked to prevent abuse through education and awareness and help survivors heal with guidance and support.