• Ethical Standards

      Call or Report it online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/

    Dial 1-800-96-ABUSE

    Signs of Neglect

    The child may have:
    unattended medical needs

    little or no supervision at home poor hygiene

    appear underweight.

    A child experiencing neglect may:
    be frequently tired or hungry

    steal food

    appear overly needy for adult attention.

    Signs of Physical Abuse

    The child may have unexplained:
    bruises, welts, cuts, or other

    broken bones


    A child experiencing physical abuse may:
    seem withdrawn or depressed

    seem afraid to go home or may run away

    shy away from physical contact

    be aggressive

    wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries.

    Signs of Sexual Abuse

    The child may have:
    torn, stained or bloody underwear

    trouble walking or sitting

    pain or itching in genital area

    a sexually transmitted disease.

    A child experiencing sexual abuse may:
    have unusual knowledge of sex or act

    fear a particular person

    seem withdrawn or depressed

    gain or lose weight suddenly

    shy away from physical contact

    run away from home.

    Look for the Patterns

    Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors.

    While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported.

    If a child tells YOU about abuse:

    1. Be a good listener.
    2. Show that you understand and believe what the child tells you.
    3. Encourage, but don’t pressure him/her to talk.
    4. Ask open ended questions.
    5. Be supportive.  
    6. Tell the child he/she did the right thing by coming to you. 
    7. Stress that he/she is not to blame. 
    8. Let the child know that you want to help.
    9. Don’t overreact.
    10. This can frighten the child or prevent him/her from telling you more. 
    11. Do not talk negatively about the suspected abuser in front of the child.
    12. Document and report it. Document your conversation as soon as you can. If possible, write down the child’s exact words.
    13. Don’t delay. Never assume someone else will report the abuse.
    14. The sooner it’s reported, the sooner the child and their family can be helped.