(1) The Legislature finds that the incidence of domestic violence in Florida is disturbingly high, and despite efforts of many to curb this violence, that one person dies at the hands of a spouse, ex-spouse, or cohabitant approximately every 3 days. Further, a child who witnesses the perpetration of this violence becomes a victim as he or she hears or sees it occurring. This child is at high risk of also being the victim of physical abuse by the parent who is perpetrating the violence and, to a lesser extent, by the parent who is the victim. These children are also at a high risk of perpetrating violent crimes as juveniles and, later, becoming perpetrators of the same violence that they witnessed as children. The Legislature finds that there should be standardized programming available to the justice system to protect victims and their children and to hold the perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their acts. Finally, the Legislature recognizes that in order for batterers’ intervention programs to be successful in protecting victims and their children, all participants in the justice system as well as social service agencies and local and state governments must coordinate their efforts at the community level.
(2) There is hereby established in the Department of Children and Family Services an Office for Certification and Monitoring of Batterers’ Intervention Programs. The department may certify and monitor both programs and personnel providing direct services to those persons who are adjudged to have committed an act of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28, those against whom an injunction for protection against domestic violence is entered, those referred by the department, and those who volunteer to attend such programs. The purpose of certification of programs is to uniformly and systematically standardize programs to hold those who perpetrate acts of domestic violence responsible for those acts and to ensure safety for victims of domestic violence. The certification and monitoring shall be funded by user fees as provided in s. 741.327.