Failure To Report Child Abuse Or Neglect
If you get arrested on suspicion of a crime, it is easy to be indignant and to insist that you did not do anything. In some cases, that is exactly the problem. Several laws in Florida criminalize something that people don’t do instead of something that they do. For example, you can get criminal charges if you leave the scene of an accident without giving the other driver your contact information and without ensuring that any injured people receive medical treatment. Likewise, if you are aware that child abuse has taken place, you must report it to the relevant authorities. You might be wondering how sure you have to be about the abuse to reach the point where staying silent stops being a matter of minding your own business and starts being a crime. If you are being accused of letting child abuse or neglect continue for longer than it had to because you did not contact authorities or did not contact them as soon as you should have, contact a Tampa criminal defense lawyer.
Florida Laws About Failure to Report Child Abuse
In Florida, every adult who has seen evidence that a child has suffered abuse or neglect by the caregivers responsible for the child’s wellbeing must report the suspected mistreatment to the Florida Abuse Hotline. For example, a reason to contact the hotline is if a child you know has visible injuries and cannot explain or refuses to explain how the injuries happened (assuming that the child is old enough to be able to describe how he or she got injured). If the child is in immediate danger of harm, such as if you see a child get into a car with an adult who you are sure is under the influence of drugs, you should call 911. Failure to report child abuse is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
What Should You Do If You Suspect That Child Abuse Has Happened, but You Aren’t Completely Sure?
No one wants to spread false rumors or make false accusations, especially not against someone they know, and some people fear retaliation if they report the actions of a family member or ex-partner. No one wants to be the busybody who called the police when he saw his cousin slap her child at a family gathering. Remember that not every investigation into allegations of abuse results in a family member or professional caregiver getting criminal charges and that everyone who receives criminal charges has the right to due process and to representation by a lawyer. School employees, healthcare professionals, and child welfare workers must state their names when reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, but everyone else may report anonymously.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of failing to notify authorities when you knew about or reasonably should have known about an incident of child abuse or neglect. Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.