Gaining unanimous support in their final committee hearing, Senate Bill 68 and Senate Bill 70 will enhance protections for victims of domestic violence as well as staff and volunteers of domestic violence shelters.
The Senate Committee on Rules today unanimously approved two bills, by Senator Ileana Garcia (R-Miami), aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence as well as the employees and volunteers of domestic violence shelters.
Senate Bill 70 provides a new criminal offense to further protect the locations of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) certified domestic violence centers. Senate Bill 68 exempts from public record the personal information and addresses of DCF domestic violence shelter’s current or former staff, volunteers, and their families. Both Senate Bill 68 and Senate Bill 70 have gained unanimous support in all three Senate committees, and will now advance to the Senate Floor to be considered for final passage.
“In their darkest hours of need, survivors turn to domestic violence centers because of the necessary and often life-saving services they provide. Ensuring a victim’s safety and confidentiality is my priority, as is protecting the heroes working in these centers, who should not have to fear for their safety or their families’ safety while doing the essential work that they do,” said Senator Garcia. “Today, we are sending a message that we have zero tolerance for domestic violence in Florida. I look forward to passing these bills off the Senate Floor. We must protect and nurture generations, so that they do not spend their adulthood recovering from their childhood.”
Senate Bill 70 makes it a first degree misdemeanor, or a felony upon a second or subsequent conviction, for any person to maliciously publish, disseminate, or disclose any descriptive information or image that may identify the location of a certified domestic violence center.
Senate Bill 68 exempts certain information from public records for the current or former staff and volunteers of domestic violence centers certified by the DCF including: home addresses, telephone numbers, photographs, and dates of birth of such personnel and their families.
Florida has 41 DCF certified domestic violence centers that provide crisis intervention and support services to adult victims of domestic violence and their children free of charge. These centers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provide services such as emergency shelter, crisis and information hotline, safety planning, counseling, education for community awareness, and training for law enforcement and other professionals. Many also provide legal and court advocacy, transportation, relocation assistance, economic empowerment classes, transitional housing, daycare, outreach services, rape crisis intervention, and prevention programs in local schools.
For more information, please visit www.FLSenate.gov.