Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Abuse is a willful action by a caretaker that results in injury or harm.

Neglect is an error by a caretaker which is a serious disregard of responsibility. 

Exploitation is the act of taking unfair advantage of a person by a caretaker.

In the State of Florida, allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation are primarily investigated by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) after receiving a complaint from the Florida Abuse Hotline. The Florida Abuse Hotline contact telephone number is:  1-800-962-2873.

Reporting Abuse

The DCF website provides the following information: 

A. The Florida Abuse Hotline will accept a report when:

  1. There is reasonable cause to suspect that a child cannot be located in Florida, or is temporarily out of the state but expected to return in the immediate future,
  2. A child has been harmed or is believed to be threatened with harm,
  3. Made by a person responsible for the care of the child.

OR

  1. Any vulnerable adult who is a resident of Florida or currently located in Florida is believed to have been abused or neglected by a caregiver in Florida, or
  2. A vulnerable adult is suffering from the ill effects of neglect by self and is in need of service, or
  3. A vulnerable adult is exploited by any person who stands in a position of trust or confidence, or any person who knows or should know that a vulnerable adult lacks capacity to consent, or any person who obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, a vulnerable adult’s funds, assets or property.

TELEPHONE: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)
TDD (Telephone Device for the Deaf): 1-800-453-5145
FAX: 1-800-914-0004