Home / State of Florida / Florida’s ‘Penn State law’ now in effect; punishes failure to report child abuse

Florida’s ‘Penn State law’ now in effect; punishes failure to report child abuse

By

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Florida has what may be the toughest law in the country for reporting child abuse. The Protection of Vulnerable Persons law went into effect Monday. The law makes failure to report child abuse a felony.

Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins says the mandatory reporting requirement used to apply only when the alleged abuser was the child’s parent or caregiver.

Not anymore.

It applies to anyone abusing a child, and anyone who knows about the abuse must report it.

“It allows and recommends and encourages any citizen in any place in this state,” Wilkins said. “If they see or are aware of any abuse occurring to any children in this state that they should call.”

Abuse can be reported to police or through the Department of Children and Families website.

It’s been referred to as the ‘Penn State law’ after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of child molestation.

The law imposes million dollar fines for colleges and universities where staffers witness child abuse on campus and don’t report it.

Check Also

Robert Wallace, owner of Chestnut Hill Tree Farm spoke to members of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee Wednesday confirming the nursery's ability to meet a February 7 deadline to apply for cultivation authorization. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr.

Grower Invokes UF Partnership in Testimony, But University Says No to Pot

Robert Wallace, owner of Chestnut Hill Tree Farm and one of five nurseries licensed to produce and dispense medical marijuana in Florida, told the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee Wednesday that he is working with UF scientists and is on track to meet the cultivation application deadline of February 7.