Florida's Child Abuse Laws

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MANDATORY REPORTING OF CHILD ABUSE IN FLORIDA

Child abuse is more rampant than it is being reported. It is not a rare occurrence but something that happens under our noses regularly. The issue is that some of us are lackadaisical about it and therefore do not take any notice or action against it.

Child abuse can have far reaching effects on its victims, and the abuse could mar the childís life forever. Therefore, our duty should be to prevent child abuse before it occurs. Reporting it after its occurrence will do less good for the victim.

What Florida law says about reporting child abuse.

Some states delegate certain professionals and individuals to mandatorily report child abuse. In Florida however, ANY person that suspects or have concerns that a child is or under threat of being abused, neglected or abandoned by parent, caregiver, legal custodian or any other individual that has a responsibility to the child must officially report it immediately. It is a crime for anyone to withhold such information. In fact, if you fail to report the crime it is a third degree felony with financial penalties.

In Florida, once you suspect or have the knowledge that an underage child (below 18) is facing abuse or neglect, or is at risk of being abused, you are mandated to report such knowledge or suspicion to Florida Abuse Hotline under the Department of Children and Families. It does not matter whether the child is under your care or not. Furthermore, you need not bother about finding out if an actual abuse has occurred; your duty is to report your fears.

Process of reporting child abuse in Florida

  • TELEPHONE: You can call the 24-hour toll free number 1-(800) 96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)
  • TDD: 1-(800) 453-5145
  • FAX: 1-(800) 914-0004
  • WEBSITE: https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/

You need to provide such basic information as your name (not compulsory unless you are a professional mandated reporter), name of victim, contact information of the victim or scene of the abuse, concise description of the abuse or neglect, relationship between the victim and the suspected abuser among others.

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Signs of child abuse

You could save a child from abuse by paying attention and learning some of the signs of child abuse.

Child abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual or neglect It comes in various forms with diverse effects on its victims. Thus, some of the signs can be hard to recognize.

Some of the signs include:

  • Unexplained, injuries, burns, injury marks, or untreated medical or dental issues.
  • Avoidance of physical contact, fear of going home, emotional and physical detachment from friends
  • Bruises, pain, itching or bleeding from the genitals
  • STDs or pregnancy
  • Isolation especially while undressing
  • Delayed learning or development
  • Poor performance in school
  • Loss of appetite or change in sleeping pattern
  • Change in behavior like anger, aggression or hostility
  • Change in health like constantly complaining of headache or stomach upset.
  • Loss of interest in usual activities and recreation
  • Weight loss or poor growth
  • Obvious lack of medical and physical attention
  • Loss of self-confidence and depression

The list is endless, but there is a pattern you can look out for. Note that you donít need proof before you can report child abuse.

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MANDATORY REPORTING OF CHILD ABUSE IN FLORIDA

Child abuse is more rampant than it is being reported. It is not a rare occurrence but something that happens under our noses regularly. The issue is that some of us are lackadaisical about it and therefore do not take any notice or action against it.

Child abuse can have far reaching effects on its victims, and the abuse could mar the childís life forever. Therefore, our duty should be to prevent child abuse before it occurs. Reporting it after its occurrence will do less good for the victim.

What Florida law says about reporting child abuse.

Some states delegate certain professionals and individuals to mandatorily report child abuse. In Florida however, ANY person that suspects or have concerns that a child is or under threat of being abused, neglected or abandoned by parent, caregiver, legal custodian or any other individual that has a responsibility to the child must officially report it immediately. It is a crime for anyone to withhold such information. In fact, if you fail to report the crime it is a third degree felony with financial penalties.

In Florida, once you suspect or have the knowledge that an underage child (below 18) is facing abuse or neglect, or is at risk of being abused, you are mandated to report such knowledge or suspicion to Florida Abuse Hotline under the Department of Children and Families. It does not matter whether the child is under your care or not. Furthermore, you need not bother about finding out if an actual abuse has occurred; your duty is to report your fears.

Process of reporting child abuse in Florida

  • TELEPHONE: You can call the 24-hour toll free number 1-(800) 96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)
  • TDD: 1-(800) 453-5145
  • FAX: 1-(800) 914-0004
  • WEBSITE: https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/

You need to provide such basic information as your name (not compulsory unless you are a professional mandated reporter), name of victim, contact information of the victim or scene of the abuse, concise description of the abuse or neglect, relationship between the victim and the suspected abuser among others.

Signs of child abuse

You could save a child from abuse by paying attention and learning some of the signs of child abuse.

Child abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual or neglect It comes in various forms with diverse effects on its victims. Thus, some of the signs can be hard to recognize.

Some of the signs include:

  • Unexplained, injuries, burns, injury marks, or untreated medical or dental issues.
  • Avoidance of physical contact, fear of going home, emotional and physical detachment from friends
  • Bruises, pain, itching or bleeding from the genitals
  • STDs or pregnancy
  • Isolation especially while undressing
  • Delayed learning or development
  • Poor performance in school
  • Loss of appetite or change in sleeping pattern
  • Change in behavior like anger, aggression or hostility
  • Change in health like constantly complaining of headache or stomach upset.
  • Loss of interest in usual activities and recreation
  • Weight loss or poor growth
  • Obvious lack of medical and physical attention
  • Loss of self-confidence and depression

The list is endless, but there is a pattern you can look out for. Note that you donít need proof before you can report child abuse.

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