According to Florida Law, “Child abuse” means:
- Intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child;
- An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or
- Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
Child Abuse in Your Community
In 2013, over 4,000 children were victims of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment in Circuit 5 – Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties. As of June 30, 2013, Circuit 5 had a total of 2,021 children in the formal child welfare system with 990 in out of home care and 988 receiving services in home; however, the number of children in the child welfare system has dramatically decreased since 2005. (18)
Ways to Help
The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day and 7 days a week of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment and reports of known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
If you suspect or know of a child or vulnerable adult in immediate danger, call 911.
MAKE A REPORT
To make a report you can
use 711 for Florida Relay Services
fax your report to 1-800-914-0004
Legislation, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, requires any individual who suspects that a child has been abused by any person to report that to the Florida Abuse Hotline. Any allegations a child was abused or neglected by a caregiver will be investigated by the Department of Children and Families, while allegations of child abuse by someone other than a caregiver will be accepted at the Hotline and immediately electronically transferred to the appropriate local law enforcement agency where the child lives.
Penalties for those who suspect a child is being abused but fail to report it have been increased from a misdemeanor to a felony. Financial penalties also have increased.
National Child Abuse Hotline