More than 117,000 cases of domestic violence are reported each year in Florida.
The Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition strongly supports legislation passed in recent years to protect victims of domestic violence. HB 1355 increased the requirements for reporting known or suspected abuse of a child and established stricter criminal penalties for failure to report. It authorized new funding for victims of sexual abuse.
HB 701 provided exceptions to the hearsay rule, allowing victims statements made outside the courtroom to be used as evidence in court proceedings under certain conditions. Additional legislation provides new protections for stalking victims, including removal of the burden to prove a person making the threat has intent to actually carry out the threat. In addition, the definition of a “threat” now includes verbal, nonverbal, and electronic. Other progress has been made in the areas of securing injunctions and protection of public records. Another important victory was the protection of personal information of victims of domestic or sexual violence in court proceedings.
In 2019, HB 563 provided aid to victims of domestic violence in qualifying for unemployment compensation benefits and created safer workplaces. Victims who voluntarily left their jobs as a direct result of circumstances related to domestic violence may now receive unemployment compensation for up to 12 weeks.
Eligibility is dependent upon providing evidence such as an injunction or protective order. Victims must also prove they tried to keep their job or that doing so increased their vulnerability to domestic violence.