Preventing and Reporting Child Abuse
Florida Abuse Hotline 1-800-962-2873
Any person in Florida who suspects a child is being abused, neglected, or abandoned by a caregiver, or who suspects a child has been a victim of any crime, must report that information to the Florida Abuse Hotline.
Child Abuse Takes Many Forms
Child abuse and neglect are against the law and can cause lifelong harm to a child. The major types of child abuse and neglect are:
Physical Abuse including hitting with an object or hand, punching, kicking, choking, shaking an infant, or otherwise causing physical harm
Sexual Abuse including fondling a child's genitals, rape, indecent exposure, coercing a child to engage in sexual acts, or producing pornographic materials.
Emotional Abuse includes threats, withholding love and support, and behavior that impairs a child's emotional development.
Neglect including failing to provide for a child's basic physical, medical, education or emotional needs.
Abandonment including leaving a child alone in a situation that could cause serious harm, failing to maintain contact with a child for specific periods of time.
Human Trafficking including sex trafficking for prostitution or pornography and forced labor.
See detailed definitions of abuse at https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/whatiscan.pdf
What Are The Signs of Child Abuse?
- Symptoms of child abuse and neglect will vary from child to child. A child being abuse may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Problems sleeping
- Sudden change in school performance or skipping school
- Low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety
- Eating problems with weight loss or weight gain
- Poor hygiene, dirty or smelling bad
- Says there is no one home to take care of them
- Unexplained injuries such as black eyes, broken bones, burn marks, bite marks, welts, etc., especially on the face, lips, and mouth
- Sudden or unexplained changes in behavior
- Showing fear or wariness around adults
- Afraid to go home
- Extreme behaviors such as aggressiveness or withdrawal
- Frequent hunger
- Use or abuse of alcohol or drugs
- Bruises or bleeding in the genital area
- Difficulty walking or sitting
How To Report Child Abuse or Neglect in Florida
Florida law requires that anyone in the state who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is being abused, neglected or abandoned must immediately report it to the Florida Department of Children and Families. You can make a report by calling 1-800-96-ABUSE or 1-800-962-2873 or, if it not an emergency, you can file a report online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/.
For more information on reporting Child Abuse in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Children and Families.