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:

  • 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,
  • A child has been harmed or is believed to be threatened with harm,
  • Made by a person responsible for the care of the child.

OR

  • 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
  • A vulnerable adult is suffering from the ill effects of neglect by self and is in need of service, or
  • 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

Investigation

Depending upon the allegations and the resources available, Disability Rights Florida will determine if it will conduct a secondary investigation or take no action.  You can call Disability Rights Florida toll-free at 1-800-342-0823.