Miami-Dade County

New report shows child sexual abuse costs Florida $1 billion a year

Lauren Book
Lauren Book File photo

A new report focusing on the economic and fiscal impact of child sexual abuse in Florida, compiled by the nonprofit organization Lauren's Kids, will be released to Florida legislators Wednesday.

Among the key findings:

▪  One in three girls and one and five boys will become a victim of child abuse in Florida before they turn 18.

▪ On average, each victim of child sexual abuse loses $250,000 in earnings throughout his or her lifetime because of the abuse.

▪ Fifty percent of victims have below-average grades.

▪ Child sexual abuse ends up costing Florida about $1 billion a year.

Lauren Book, who founded the organization in 2007, said the ‘‘White Paper’’ report, which took about four months to compile, is meant to show the true cost of child sexual abuse — both the financial and human impact.

“When you look at the true cost to our state, it’s huge,” she said. “The numbers are staggering.”

Book said 95 percent of childhood abuse cases can be prevented through education and awareness.

When Book, now 30, was 11, she was sexually abused over a period of about eight years by her nanny. She formed Lauren’s Kids to help sexual abuse victims. Through the organization, she developed educational and national awareness campaigns, including the annual Walk in My Shoes event, which kicks off March 14.

The 1,500-mile walk begins in Key West and ends April 22, 42 days later in Tallahassee. The 42-day journey is meant to raise awareness of the 42 million survivors of child sex abuse.

“It’s about using our collective voice,” she said. “It’s a huge accomplishment. We all want to take a stand to protect a child.”

For more information on the walk visit Laurenskids.org/Walk.

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