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CHILD PROTECTION CENTER
Get Help Child Abuse Reporting Simplified

Child Abuse Reporting Simplified

Who

Who must report suspicions of child abuse?

Florida Statutes Chapter 39 states that any person who has knowledge, or reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected must report that information to the Florida Abuse Hotline (1-800-96-ABUSE).  By law, failure to report suspicions of child maltreatment is a first degree misdemeanor, as is interfering with or preventing another person from making a report.  Knowingly making a false report is a third degree felony.  ALL FLORIDA CITIZENS ARE MANDATED REPORTERS OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT. 

What

What is child abuse?

The state of Florida recognizes five types of child maltreatment:

  • Neglect - chronic failure of a caretaker to provide basic needs.
  • Physical - non-accidental injury of a child at the hands of their caregiver.
  • Sexual Abuse - sexual exploitation of a child by an older and/or more powerful person that may or may not involve physical   contact.
  • Emotional Abuse - Pattern of behavior that attack's a child's emotional and psychological development.
  • Abandonment - Willful rejection of parental obligation to a child. (Florida Safe Haven Laws permit a custodial parent to safely surrender their newborn infant less than 7 days of age to a Florida Safe Haven: Emergency Medical Services station, fire station, or hospital.)

When

When should a report be made?

If there is immediate danger to a child, call 911.

Anytime that a child makes a disclosure of abuse or exhibits behavioral or physical indicators that have no other reasonable explanation, a report should be made as soon as possible.

The report must be made to the abuse hotline. Hotline counselors are available to receive calls 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.  Remember, a report is simply a request for an investigation, not an accusation.

Why

Why should suspicions of child abuse be reported?

Everyone has a legal and ethical obligation to report suspicions of abuse and neglect. Often, a child's only hope is a report made on his/her behalf by a concerned adult.

How

How is an abuse report made?

There are four reporting methods for the Florida Abuse Hotline:

  1. Telephone a Hotline operator at 1-800- 96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).  Hotline operators are available to receive reports at this toll-free hotline 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
    This is the  reporting method recommended by CPC.
  2. Fax a report to 1-800-914-0004.
  3. On-line at http://www.dcf.state.fl.us.  Reports made through the website are for non-emergent situations.  Please call the Hotline if more immediate action is required, you do not have sufficient information to complete the on-line report,  or if you prefer to remain anonymous. 
    Remember, a 911 call is warranted if a child is in immediate danger
  4. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD): 1-800-453-5145


Be prepared to include as much information as possible, such as:

  • Child's name, birth date, race, gender, home address and phone number, custodial parent's name.
  • Nature and extent of abuse; identity of abuser if known.
  • Reporters name and telephone number.

What rights do I have as a reporter?

  1. Confidentiality: The name of any person reporting child abuse, abandonment, or neglect may not be released to any person other than employees of the department responsible for child protective services, the abuse hotline, law enforcement,the child protection team, or appropriate state attorney, without the written consent of the persons reporting.
  2. Immunity from Liability
  3. Freedom from Reprisal
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Main Office:
Child Protection Center, Inc.
720 South Orange Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 34236
Phone: 941.365.1277
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Venice, Florida 34293
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Arcadia, Florida 34266
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