Penalties for Failure to Report and False Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Florida

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Failure to Report

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 39.205(1)-(4)

A person who is required to report known or suspected child abuse and who knowingly and willfully fails to do so, or who knowingly and willfully prevents another person from doing so, commits a felony of the third degree, which is punishable as provided in §§ 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084. Upon conviction, the person may be punished as follows:

  • Imprisoned for a term not to exceed 5 years
  • Fined $5,000

Unless the court finds that the person is a victim of domestic violence or that other mitigating circumstances exist, a person age 18 or older who lives in the same house or living unit as a child who is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse and knowingly and willfully fails to report the child abuse commits a felony of the third degree.

Any Florida College System institution; State university; or nonpublic college, university, or school whose administrators knowingly and willfully, upon receiving information from faculty, staff, or other institution employees, fail to report known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect committed on the property of the university, college, or school, or during an event or function sponsored by the university, college, or school, or who knowingly and willfully prevents another person from doing so, shall be subject to fines of $1 million for each such failure.

Any Florida College System institution; State university; or nonpublic college, university, or school whose law enforcement agency fails to report known or suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect committed on the property of the university, college, or school or during an event or function sponsored by the university, college, or school shall be subject to fines of $1 million for each such failure.

False Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 39.205(9); 39.206(1)

A person who knowingly and willfully makes a false report of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or who advises another to make a false report, is guilty of a felony of the third degree. Upon conviction, the person may be punished as follows:

  • Imprisoned for a term not to exceed 5 years
  • Fined $5,000

In addition to any other penalty authorized by this section or other law, the Department of Children and Family Services may impose a fine, not to exceed $10,000 for each violation, upon a person who knowingly and willfully makes a false report of abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child or a person who counsels another to make a false report.