Child Abuse in Florida: Types of Actions that Warrant Charges

There were over 50,000 victims of child abuse and neglect in Florida in 2010, according to “Child Maltreatment 2010” from the Children’s Bureau, a group under the larger umbrella groups of Administration for Children and Families and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each case is different, but they generally fall under one of three categories of abuse as defined by Florida statutes, discussed below.

Defining Child Abuse in Florida

In §39.01, Florida defines child abuse as “any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual abuse, personal injury, or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired.”

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Child abuse charges generally fall under the following categories: 

  • child abuse;
  • aggravated child abuse or assault; or
  • child neglect.

Types of Behavior Considered Child Abuse

Because Florida’s definition of child abuse and assault is so broad, it can include numerous actions.

Any action that results in harm may be considered child abuse, including: 

  • inflicting physical, mental, or emotional injury;
  • allowing that injury to take place;
  • giving a child poison, drugs, or alcohol;
  • leaving a child unattended (if inappropriate for their age);
  • harsh discipline that inflicts injury;
  • neglecting the child’s physical or mental needs;
  • abandonment;
  • committing or allowing sexual battery;
  • torture;
  • exposing a child to drugs;
  • using restraints on the child;
  • obscene phone calls;
  • leaving the child in isolation for extended periods to gain control;
  • not protecting the child from harm inflicted by another; or
  • engaging in violent behavior without regard to the presence of the child.

Building a Defense to Child Abuse Charges

It’s advisable to speak to a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. A lawyer can review case details and help establish a defense against charges. Contact Falk & Ross at 877-663-5110 to schedule a consultation regarding your case.