Mary Lee’s House sponsored its annual Mandatory Reporter Training, presented by the Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline, on April 11th and 12th at Stetson University Tampa Law Center. This event continues to be one of the largest trainings of its kind on the issue of mandated child abuse reporting in Florida.
The trainings are provided to educate and raise awareness of Florida’s abuse reporting laws, which are one of the nation’s toughest. Previous consequences for those who did not report abuse included a first degree misdemeanor. With the current laws, those who fail to report abuse in Florida now face a third degree felony charge punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Schools and universities can be fined up to $1 million for failure to report.
The trainings are also intended to educate the local community on reporting abuse, as any person who knows or suspects that a child has been abused is considered a mandated reporter and required to report to the Abuse Hotline. The trainings help provide not only the steps to report abuse, but key signs to be aware of in a potential abuse situation.
Approximately 480 attended the Mandatory Reporter Trainings this year. Attendees included social workers, school counselors, foster parents, Guardian Ad Litems, daycare employees, as well as community advocates from Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties.
To report abuse, please call 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).