The risk of violence in the home has escalated since the stay-at-home order was issued in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis on April 1, 2020. Families are essentially confined to their homes, with their usual non-essential activities dramatically curtailed. This action has reportedly caused a wave of domestic violence and abuse for our most vulnerable population: our children. With the closing of schools, daycare centers, and limited contact, child abuse whistleblowers such as grandparents, neighbors, and doctors are now absent due to the lockdown. As reported by Dr. Donald Plumley, the Medical Director for Pediatric Trauma at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, this has created a significant spike in life threatening child-abuse cases. Child abuse is defined as the willful and intentional harm to a child. The abuse may be carried out mentally, physically, or sexually.
Recent Legislation Has Made Efforts to Reduce Child Abuse in the State of Florida
- A legislative bill named Donna’s Law was passed after the sexual abuse of a minor by a teacher. This bill, which removes the statute of limitations for sexual battery on anyone under the age of 18, was unanimously passed by the Florida House of Representatives on 3/9/2020, and the Florida Senate on 3/11/2020. If signed by Governor DeSantis, this change in the law would take effect on July 1st, 2020, and will pave the way for children and adults that were abused to prosecute their offenders.
- Jordan’s Law was unanimously passed by the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in March of 2020 and is waiting to be signed by Governor DeSantis. It was initiated as a result of the tragic death of Jordan Belliveau, who was allegedly struck in the head by his mother, leaving his body in a woody area in Largo, Florida. Under this bill, the child welfare system would reduce the caseload for child welfare workers, require mandatory brain injury education for all child welfare professionals, and streamline information between law enforcement agencies and child welfare agencies. This bill is scheduled to be in effect on July 1st, 2020.
Child Abuse Allegations are Prosecuted Aggressively in the State of Florida
It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you are being investigated for child abuse. Accusations of child abuse can lead to serious consequences if there is a conviction. Depending on the circumstances and the perpetrator’s prior criminal history, penalties range from a third-degree felony conviction with up to five years in prison, to a second degree felony conviction with incarceration of up to fifteen years.
We Will Defend Your Constitutional Right to a Fair Trial in Ocala
The AP Law Group is an Ocala criminal defense law firm that protects the rights of clients who are at risk of a criminal conviction for child abuse or similar crime. Our role is to investigate the allegations, analyze the evidence, engage in negotiation, and provide a vigorous defense. We pride ourselves on being criminal defense attorneys with over 55 years combined legal experience in Florida. Tania Alavi & Andrew Pozzuto are experienced Ocala criminal defense attorneys that defend clients in allegations of misdemeanor and felony charges. We handle cases of domestic violence against family members, including children. We have offices in Ocala and Gainesville and can be contacted at 352-732-9191. Call us to discuss your case and your options to protect your future.