Recent alarming news coverage of the rape kit testing backlog problem here in Florida shines a much needed light on the overall issue of identifying and prosecuting sexual predators.
In a country where nearly 70 percent of all reported sexual assaults occur to children age 17 and under, the urgency for prompt, thorough police work to identify and allow prosecution of predators cannot be overstated.
As 13,000 rape kits sit untested in our state, we are not only allowing rapists to walk free without being held accountable for past assaults, but it also enables them to commit future sexual offenses.
Untested kits equal unidentified predators, and no one should feel safe, comfortable or OK with that reality.
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The Florida-based non-profit organization, Lauren’s Kids, is advocating for specific Florida legislation in 2016 to improve our state’s ability to identify and prosecute sexual predators.
We urge all Florida voters to contact their representatives in Tallahassee and push for passage of these four pieces of proposed legislation aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of sexual assault investigations:
▪ HB 179 and SB 636 standardize DNA testing procedures, including provisions stating evidence processing must begin within 30 days of a request. Victims, the governor’s office and the Legislature should be kept informed on testing data and results.
Legislative advocacy is one of many ways that Floridians can help end the cycle of child sexual abuse and sexual violence and be successful in prosecuting predators.
Please visit: www.LaurensKids.org to learn more.
Lauren Book, founder and CEO, Lauren’s Kids,