Can Mandatory Reporting Help Stop Child Abuse?

Do you know what to do when a child’s welfare is in danger?

Unfortunately, not many adults know what to look for when it comes to the warning signs of abuse. Teaching adults how to recognize and react to abuse in the appropriate manner is one of the goals at Lauren’s Kids, that’s why we’ve worked closely with the Florida Legislature to bolster the state’s mandatory abuse reporting laws.

In 2012, HB 1355/SB passed the Florida Legislature and significantly changed the laws regarding mandatory reports of child abuse from Miami all the way to the panhandle. After taking effect on July 1, 2012, HB 1355/SB mandated that all reports of child abuse need to be made to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). Reports can be filed through the DCF hotline, 1-800-96-ABUSE, or on the department website. The law mandates that all Floridians are mandatory reporters of suspected abuse – with failure to report being punishable with a 3rd degree felony.

Following the highly publicized child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, a greater focus has been placed on holding administrators accountable for reporting abuse in every case. Known as a “bury your head in the sand” approach, many fail to act in hopes problem will take care of itself. Inaction when you know abuse is happening is utterly reprehensible and the new law establishes penalties for those with the power to act, but who fail to do so.

The truth is, it takes courage to stand up to abuse. Do you have the courage it takes to advocate for a child who is unable or unsure of how to speak up for themselves? Those in positions of authority, whether than be teachers, counselors, assistant principals or whomever, all have the legal responsibility to report abuse in every instance thanks to efforts of Lauren’s Kids and everyone who supports the cause.

HB 1355/SB is a wonderful step in the right direction, but a single law isn’t going to put a permanent stop to the abuse of children in the state of Florida. The only way to ensure that abuse is identified and eradicated is through comprehensive education programs for kids and adults. We as a collective need to make sure we put children first every time so abuse is reported quickly and through the proper channels so something can be done immediately. Contact Lauren’s Kids today for more information about how you can help end abuse once and for all.