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Gov. Scott’s bill provides relocation assistance for victims of sexual battery


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October is National Domestic Awareness Violence Month, and it coincides with the start of a new program enacted by Gov. Rick Scott to help victims of sexual battery in their places of residence.

Gov. Scott’s House Bill 1355 (2012) for the protection of vulnerable persons, which became effective Oct. 1, determined victims who live with a reasonable fear for their safety are entitled to as much as $1,500 to relocate to a safer location and start the healing process. The money can be used toward utility deposits, moving charges and rent deposits.

Loretta Golden, the director of Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis, said   the program is patterned after the relocation assistance that has been available for victims of domestic violence, and that it has been needed for quite some time.

To qualify for relocation assistance, victims must report crimes to law enforcement within 72 hours after the assault, Golden said. Applications must be submitted through certified rape crisis centers in Florida. Alachua County Victim Services has advocates informing victims in area hospitals.

“Having this assistance can be a tremendous relief in helping that victim to feel safe and secure again in her home,” Golden said.

Read Gov. Scott’s bill at http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/1355. 

George Pappas edited this story online.

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