Child Abuse Prevention Month 

Child abuse is an unfortunate reality here in Pinellas County. In 2019, our Child Protection Investigation Division handled approximately 11,000 cases involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and child neglect. Child abuse and the general maltreatment of children have consequences that reach far beyond those directly affected and into our community.

As an agency, we are committed to protecting our children and building strong families within our community, but we cannot do it without your support. April is “National Child Abuse Prevention” month and everyone can contribute by educating themselves on how to identify and prevent child abuse.

How to identify child abuse and neglect:

  • Emotional abuse can result in a child who is withdrawn, fearful, or anxious. The child can also show extreme behavior such as being aggressive, demanding, or even extremely compliant.
  • Not all physical abuse can be recognized by a mark, bruise, or injury. A child may show signs of physical abuse by shying away from touch, flinching at sudden movements, and being afraid to go home.
  • A child who is sexually abused may have trouble walking or sitting, may not want to change clothes in front of others, may display knowledge of sexual acts, or exhibit seductive behavior.
  • Child neglect may manifest in a child wearing clothes that are too small, big, or are dirty; missing or arriving late to school; sustaining illnesses or injuries that are left untreated; and enduring poor hygiene.

How to respond to child abuse and neglect:

If you witness any of these signs and feel that something is wrong, it is better to put the child’s safety as a priority and report the suspected abuse as opposed to ignoring it and allowing it to continue or get worse. Use the resources below to learn more or report child abuse and neglect:

Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline: 1-800-962-2873

Report online: https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Non-emergency: 727-582-6200

Posted by Michelle Whiting Wednesday, April 1, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info