The Florida Abuse Hotline will submit all reports to the appropriate investigative office within one hour after the call to the Hotline ends. Once the report arrives at the investigative office and is assigned to an investigator, the investigator has up to 24 hours to initiate contact with the subjects of the report. In situations in which it is believed a child is being or is about to be harmed, the investigator will respond as soon as possible.
For an outline of the process, download the Child Sexual Abuse Investigation Process chart.
Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about what you can expect after you make a report.
All reports are confidential.
Florida Abuse Hotline Counselors will not acknowledge the existence of any report, will not acknowledge that they have previously spoken to a particular caller, nor will they release any information provided by a caller or any information contained in a report. No reports are released by the Abuse Hotline other than to those persons specifically authorized under Chapters 39 and 415, F.S. Any person with a statutory right to a report copy must contact the local investigative office. For more information on confidentiality, read the Florida Statute 39.202 – Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of child abuse or neglect.
The Hotline counselor sends a typed report of the allegations to the local investigation office in the county where the victim is located. After the report is sent to the local office, the report is assigned to a Child Protective Investigator (CPI). The CPI is then responsible for conducting an investigation on the allegations that meet statutory criteria for the Department of Children and Families to investigate.
The Department of Children and Families makes every effort to act with a sense of urgency to all allegations of harm to children and/or vulnerable adults.
The Florida Abuse Hotline strives to submit all reports to the appropriate investigative office within one hour after the call to the Hotline ends. Once the report arrives at the investigative office and is assigned to an investigator, the investigator has up to 24 hours to initiate contact with the subjects of the report. In situations in which it is believed the victim is at imminent risk of harm, the investigator will respond as soon as possible.
Prior to concluding each call, the Hotline counselor is required to inform each caller if a report was accepted or not. When a report is not accepted, the Hotline Counselor may provide appropriate referral information to the caller so their concerns can be addressed by the appropriate agency.
The Hotline counselor is required to document all calls in the Hotline’s database. This database is maintained for all contacts in compliance with Florida Statutes and for quality assurance and training purposes. Also, if a pattern of repeated calls for a particular child is identified in the database, then an investigation may be recommended.
If the report is not accepted, it may be considered for referral to the county office as a prevention referral. If the information is not sent as a prevention referral, then it is maintained in the Hotline’s database.
The Florida Department of Children and Families provides a frequently asked questions webpage about the Florida Abuse Hotline.