Module 11

Abuse and Neglect

Child Abuse, Neglect, and Domestic Violence

Child Abuse and Neglect - The impact of child abuse is far greater than its immediate, visible effects. Abuse and neglect are associated with short and long-term consequences that may include brain damage, developmental delays, learning disorders, problems forming relationships, aggressive behavior, and depression. Survivors of child abuse and neglect may be at greater risk for problems later in life, such as low academic achievement, drug use, teen pregnancy, and criminal behavior. Child abuse and Neglect is a willful or threatened act that harms or is likely to cause harm to a child.

Types of Child Abuse and Neglect

  • Abandoned- the parent, legal custodian or caregiver makes no provision for the child’s support and makes no effort to communicate with the child.

  • Abuse- willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, emotional, financial or sexual injury or harm.

  • Neglect- occurs when a child is deprived of, or is allowed to be deprived of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes a child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired.

  • Physical Injury- death, permanent or temporary disfigurement, or impairment of any body part.

Statutory Mandate to Report Child Abuse and Neglect

  • Any person is required by law to report any known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Any person who knowingly or willfully fails to do so, or who knowingly and willfully prevents another person from doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the firs degree, which is punishable as provided by law.

  • False Reporting - Anyone reporting in good faith is immune from any civil or criminal liability. However, any person who knowingly and willfully or any person who advises another to make a false report is guilty of a felony of the third degree.


Florida Department of Children and Families is the central reporting center for allegations of abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation for all children and vulnerable adults in Florida. The hotline receives calls, faxes, and web based reports.

Telephone: 1-800-962-2873

Fax: 1-800-914-0004


If you suspect or are concerned a child is harmed, abused or neglected report it right away.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is any form of abuse, violence, and or coercion by a partner or previous partner that serves to establish and maintain power and control over another person.

The majority of this course has been geared for parents involved in a non-violent divorce or separation. Violence, whether it is directed at the child or the other parent, can create exceptions to some of the concepts discussed in this course. A child should not be encouraged or forced to spend large amounts of unsupervised time with a parent the courts have deemed as neglectful or abusive. A custodial parent needs to use careful judgment based on the individual severity of the case to determine what role, if any, an abusive ex should have in a child’s life. A parent should always work through the courts when a case of abuse or neglect is relevant. A parent should not withhold visitation from a parent where the court has ordered that right to visitation since it could be used against them in any future legal actions. Always try to get professional assistance from various organizations designed to help in such situations. A local women’s shelter can often be a resource for getting connected to the people who can help. Other agencies which can provide assistance and lists of helpful organizations for domestic violence victims, including local police departments, hospitals, and Department of Children and Families services.

If there is child abuse, child neglect, or domestic abuse within the marriage or relationship, the best choice for a Parenting Plan may be the Safety Focused/ Supervised Visitation Parenting Plan. If timesharing needs to be supervised, it is usually best to have the supervision done by a third party who is not a family member. Sometimes, when family members supervise timesharing, the issues worsen due to other family conflicts. Most counties offer a child supervision center, which may be through the Sheriff's Department or a local non-profit entity set up for this purpose.

Types of Domestic Violence

  • Physical Abuse- any physical act or threat to harm you in any way.

  • Sexual Abuse- pressuring or forcing you to do sexual acts you do not want to do.

  • Verbal Abuse- any negative form of name calling, the use of criticism or sarcasms to hurt you or put you down, yelling or swearing, blaming you for their actions, refusing to discuss issue that upset you (dismissal of your feelings), and manipulating your actions by persistent and intense use of threating words to make you do something or act in a way you find is uncomfortable. ‘Walking on egg shells’ is a common description of a victim’s feelings.

  • Emotional Abuse- humiliating, degrading, criticizing, controlling, accusing and blaming, emotionally distancing themselves from you by isolating, ignoring, or neglecting you.

  • Financial Abuse- preventing you from having a job, making you dependent on them, giving you an allowance or making you ask for money, not allowing you to have access to family income.

  • Resources

Assistance for Domestic Violence:

FCADV Statewide Legal Hotline

1-800-500-1119, Ext. 3

Florida Abuse Hotline:


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