Under § 827.03(2)(c), Fla. Stat., the crime of child abuse requires proof that a person:
- intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon a child;
- committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child;
- actively encouraged another person to commit an act that resulted in or could reasonably have been expected to result in physical or mental injury to the child.
Under Florida law, it is NOT a crime for a parent or a person who is acting in place of a parent to impose reasonable physical discipline on a child for misbehavior under the circumstances even though physical injury resulted from the discipline.
Allegations of child abuse are investigated by child protective investigators from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office or members of the Child Protection Team in Pasco County.
Attorney for Child Abuse in Pasco County, FL
If you were accused of child abuse or neglect, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm, P.A. We represent clients accused of child abuse crimes prosecuted in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL.
Related charges include neglect of a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, or leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle.
At the Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys are familiar with the tactics used by the Child Protective Investigation Section of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Let us put our experience to work for you.
Pasco’s Child Protective Investigation Section
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office is one of only six sheriffs’ offices in the State of Florida that is authorized to investigate reports of child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
Many of the investigations of the Child Protective Investigators in Pasco County are triggered by a report to the Florida Abuse Hotline, a statewide hotline. The Florida Abuse Hotline receives reports of alleged abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
In 2019, the Child Protective Investigation Section of PSO investigated more than seven thousand (7,000) reports. Reports to the hotline come from certified educators, teachers, daycare providers, doctors and nurses, teachers, law enforcement officers, judges, counselors, therapists, and judges.
After the report of child abuse or neglect is received, the PSO’s Child Protective Investigations Division investigates the case for the purpose of making sure that any child in the home is not experiencing abuse or neglect.
In Pasco County, FL, the goal of Florida’s Child Protection System is to make sure that minor children under the age of 18 years old are living in homes that are safe from abuse or neglect.
The best result comes with the investigator closes the case after finding no indication of child abuse or neglect.
In other cases, the CPI will recommend a safety plan or referral to community resources such as in-home counseling or therapy. The CPI might help the alleged victim of domestic violence obtain a protective order against the alleged abuser in Pasco County, FL.
In the most extreme cases, the Child Protective Investigators might determine that voluntary services will not alleviate the level of threatened harm to the child. In those cases, court ordered services may be considered.
Those court ordered services might include removing the child from the home. Any recommendation that the child is removed from the home by the Child Protective Investigator (CPI) in Pasco County, FL, is reviewed by the investigator’s supervisor and a representative of the State Attorney’s Office in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
In those cases, in which the child is removed from the home, the CPI and State Attorney will present the case to a dependency judge within 24 hours of removal from the child’s parents or legal guardian at a shelter hearing.
False Reports to the Florida Abuse Hotline
If someone makes a false report to the Florida Abuse Hotline, then law enforcement officers might be notified to investigate whether or not the person knowingly and willfully made a false report of child abuse, abandonment or neglect.
Under §§39.205(9), 415.111(5), Florida Statutes, any person who willfully and knowingly makes a false report of child abuse, abandonment, neglect, or abuse of a vulnerable adult, or who advises another to make a false report, is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
On the other hand, under §§39.205(9), 415.111(5)(b), Florida Statutes, anyone making a report who is acting in good faith is immune from any liability.
Aggravated Child Abuse Crimes in Pasco County, FL
The crime of aggravated child abuse is described in § 827.03(2)(a), Fla. Stat. The elements of the crime of Aggravated Child Abuse, include:
- committed Aggravated Battery upon a child;
- willfully torturing a child;
- maliciously punishing a child;
- willfully and unlawfully caging a child;
- knowingly or willfully committed child abuse and causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.
Under § 827.03(1)(b), Fla. Stat., the term “child abuse” means the 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.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.