When a child tells an adult that he or she has been sexually abused, the adult may feel uncomfortable and unsure as to what to do or say. The following guidelines may be helpful in responding to children who have disclosed sexual abuse:
Florida Statutes Chapter 39 state that any person who has knowledge, or reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is being abused or neglects 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.
Any time 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. If there is immediate danger to a child, call 911. Remember, a report is simply a request for an investigation, not an accusation.
There are three reporting methods for the Florida Abuse Hotline:
Florida law gives Hotline reporters three rights:
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.
Child Protection Center, Inc.
720 South Orange Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 34236
2210 S. Tamiami Tr.
Venice, Florida 34293
North Port Location:
6919 Outreach Way
North Port, Florida 34297
222 N. Roberts Avenue
Arcadia, Florida 34266