LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today praised the passage of legislation, filed on behalf of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, that takes important steps to provide essential resources to Floridians who fall victim to crime while traveling abroad. The bill, which was strongly supported by the Attorney General, unanimously passed both chambers and will now be sent to the Governor for his consideration.
“For many years, Floridians have had the strong support of state
resources should they fall victim to a crime within our borders. Once
signed into law, this bill will extend support to our citizens while
traveling abroad,” said Attorney General McCollum. “Any additional
assistance we can offer our fellow Floridians in times of greatest need
should be a top priority for our state.”
The new legislation allows a victim advocate to be present – at a
sexual offense victim’s request – during a forensic medical exam.
Additionally, it requires the court to order specified defendants to
undergo an HIV test within 48 hours after the victim requests such testing
(current law allows such testing but does not have the 48-hour
requirement). The legislation also raises the amount a victim is paid by
the Attorney General’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund for the forensic
exam from $250 to $500.
“This important piece of legislation is an indication of the
Legislature’s commitment to the fair treatment of victims of sexual
violence, and its recognition that supporting victim-centered policies and
practices can increase the prosecution of offenders and create safer
communities across Florida,” said Jennifer Dritt, Executive Director of the
Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. “The provisions of this
legislation can and will make a world of difference for victims of sexual
Attorney General McCollum worked with bill sponsors Senator Mike
Fasano (R-New Port Richey) and Representative William Snyder (R-Stuart) to
add language to the legislation which would allow for Floridians who are
victimized by a violent crime while traveling abroad to be eligible for
compensation under the Attorney General’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
This benefit is essential for those who are unable to obtain appropriate
medical and other emergency services while overseas.
“The Florida Legislature recognizes that crime victims, particularly
victims of sexual violence, deserve as much help as they can receive during
the most difficult moments of their lives,” Senator Fasano stated. “This
legislation will provide not only additional protections for those who are
assaulted here at home, but will allow access to crime victim services if a
violent crime occurs abroad.”
“As a former law enforcement officer, I have seen firsthand the
devastating physical and emotional effects that violent crimes have on the
lives of victims and their families,” said Rep. William Snyder (R-Stuart).
“This legislation is a giant step forward in providing further protections
to victims of very serious crimes.”
The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General of Florida