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  • Keep in mind that the reporter or complainant of the abuse might have valuable information to aid the
    investigation on the other hand the

    the complainant may have a negative agenda

    outcry witness

    is the first person the child told about the abuse.

    Interview the primary
    caregiver and obtain a statement regarding the allegations of child abuse or neglect, this is a

    preliminary interview to lock in a statement, dismiss any retaliatory accusations, or establish a suspect's identity.

    Prior to conducting any interview with a victim of child abuse,

    contact your supervisor to determine if
    assistance is required from an investigative unit.

    Sometimes a DCF investigator and a law enforcement officer

    jointly conduct the interview

    There is a statutory limit on the number of

    interviews that you can conduct with a child victim.

    The chief judge in your judicial district has set guidelines and limits on

    interviewing child abuse or sexual abuse victims
    who are less than 16 years of age. The limits also apply to persons who are intellectually disabled.

    The purpose of the limitations is to protect

    the victim from psychological damage caused by repeated questioning about a traumatic incident

    Before conducting the child's interview, learn the victim's age:

    Knowing this helps you
    prepare for the interview, use age-appropriate language, and word questions so the child
    understands. Consider what you know about the child's mental capacity.

    signs of physical abuse

    suspicious bruises, welts, burns, fractures, lacerations, and abrasions

    following individuals are legally required to
    provide their names when reporting child abuse, abandonment, or neglect:

    โ€ข physician, osteopathic physician, medical examiner, chiropractic physician, nurse,
    or hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment
    โ€ข health or mental health professional
    โ€ข practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing
    โ€ข school teacher or other school official or personnel
    โ€ข social worker, day care center worker, or other professional child care, foster care,
    residential, or institutional worker
    โ€ข law enforcement officer
    โ€ข judge

    Florida has a reputation as a retirement state with a large population of

    elderly people

    people with disabilities could be any

    age

    A basic understanding of
    the aging process and characteristics of the elderly population will help you relate to

    Florida's elderly population in a positive and compassionate manner

    Elderly and disabled people tend to be more dependent on others, due to their limitations and needs. This increases their vulnerability to neglect and certain types of
    crime, such as

    fraud or exploitation.

    elderly people more reluctant to report

    crimes committed against them.

    Many elderly individuals
    receive assistance through federal or state programs and live on a limited income, at or
    near the

    poverty level.

    The fear of losing the support or assistance of the people who may very well exploit, neglect, or abuse them may cause elderly people to

    hesitate reporting crimes committed against them

    An elderly person can be embarrassed because of their

    lack of awareness or authority to be able to avoid these types of situations.

    Abuse of a disabled adult or elderly person

    is any willful or threatened act by a
    caregiver that significantly impairs or is likely to impair a vulnerable adult's physical,
    mental, or emotional health.

    under elderly section: "A caregiver"

    is a person entrusted with or who has assumed responsibility for the care or
    the property of a disabled adult or elderly person.
    Includes: relatives, court-appointed or voluntary guardians, adult household members, neighbors,
    health care providers, and employees and volunteers of facilities.

    disabled adult

    is a person 18 years of age or older who suffers from a condition of
    physical or mental incapacitation due to a developmental disability, organic brain
    damage or mental illness, or who has one or more physical or mental limitations that
    restrict the person's ability to perform the normal activities of daily living.

    An elderly person

    a person 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities
    of aging as showed by advanced age or organic brain damage, or other physical, mental,
    sensory, or emotional dysfunction, to the extent the ability of the person to provide
    adequately for the person's own care or protection is impaired.

    vulnerable adult

    is a person 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the
    normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is
    impaired due to a mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical, or developmental
    disability or dysfunction, brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.

    Exploitation of a disabled adult or elderly person

    occurs when someone
    knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses a disabled adult's or elderly
    person's funds, assets or property. The suspect's intent must be to deprive the person of
    the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property, or to benefit someone
    other than the disabled adult or elderly person temporarily or permanently

    Lacks capacity to consent

    occurs when an elderly person or disabled adult lacks
    sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate reasonable decisions
    concerning his or her person or property. This impairment may occur because of mental
    illness, developmental disability, organic brain disorder, physical illness or disability,
    chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, short-term memory loss, or other causes.

    Care, supervision, and services

    necessary to maintain the elderly person's or disabled
    adult's physical and mental health include, but are not limited to, food, nutrition,
    clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person
    would consider essential for the well-being of the elderly person or disabled adult.

    Facility

    is any location providing day or residential care or treatment for elderly persons
    or disabled adults. The term "facility" may include, but is not limited to, any hospital,
    training center, state institution, nursing home, assisted living facility, adult family-care
    home, adult day care center, group home, mental health treatment center, or continuing
    care community.

    When establishing probable cause for abuse of a disabled adult or elderly person,document that at the time, the victim was an elderly person or a disabled adult and the
    suspect knowingly or willfully:

    โ€ข inflicted physical or psychological injury upon the victim,
    โ€ข committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological
    injury to the victim, or
    โ€ข actively encouraged another person to commit an act that resulted in or could reasonably have been
    expected to result in physical or psychological injury to the victim.

    To establish probable cause for aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, document that at the
    time, the victim was an elderly person or a disabled adult and that the suspect did at least one of the following:

    โ€ข committed aggravated battery upon the victim
    โ€ข willfully tortured the victim
    โ€ข maliciously punished the victim
    โ€ข willfully and unlawfully caged the victim
    โ€ข knowingly or willfully abused the victim and in so doing caused great bodily harm, permanent disability,
    or permanent disfigurement

    To establish probable cause for neglect of an elderly person or a disabled adult,

    document that at the time, the
    victim was an elderly person or a disabled adult. The suspect was a caregiver for the victim and the suspect
    willfully or by culpable negligence failed or omitted to provide the victim with the care, supervision, and
    services necessary to maintain the victim's physical or mental health, or failed to make a reasonable effort to
    protect the victim from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

    When establishing probable cause for exploitation of a disabled adult or elderly person,

    document that the
    victim was an elderly person or a disabled adult, and the suspect knowingly used deception or intimidation to
    obtain, use, or endeavor to obtain or use the victim's funds, assets, or property. The suspect did so with the
    intent to deprive the victim temporarily or permanently of the use, benefit, or possession of his or her funds,
    assets, or property to benefit someone other than the victim. The suspect stood in a position of trust and
    confidence and had a business relationship with the victim at the time.
    or
    The suspect knowingly used deception or intimidation to obtain, use, or attempt to obtain or use, the victim's
    funds, assets, or property, and did so with the intent to deprive the victim temporarily or permanently of the
    use, benefit, or possession of his or her funds, assets, or property to benefit someone other than the victim. In
    addition, the suspect knew or reasonably should have known the victim did not have the capacity to consent
    at the time.
    or
    The suspect was the victim's guardian or agent under a power of attorney and breached a fiduciary duty to the
    victim. As a result, there was an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the victim's property.

    a group that has become one
    of the largest populations in this state

    Florida's disabled or elderly citizens

    Impoverished families often lack

    amenities and necessities.

    Loud or argumentative reactions can
    signal

    impending violence.

    Crying or laughing may express the victim's

    relief that you have finally arrived

    Quiet or regressive behavior may indicate

    suffering.

    Abused or neglected disabled adults or elderly persons have some,
    all, or none of the following normal or trauma reactions:

    โ€ข embarrassment they allowed the victimization
    โ€ข fear that abuse may escalate
    โ€ข irrational anger
    โ€ข confusion
    โ€ข denial

    Child Abduction Response Team

    CART

    It is common for a juvenile to give false information to adults to gain access to a home and
    stay for a period without

    the juvenile's parents having knowledge of the situation

    Interference with custody is a

    felony

    Interference with custody

    occurs when the suspect, without lawful authority, knowingly
    or recklessly takes or entices any child less than 18 years of age from the custody of its
    parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian.

    Concealing or removing minors from the
    state with full knowledge of a court order is also

    interference with custody. The suspect
    must have knowledge of the court order or receive notice of the pending proceeding.

    If the suspect reasonably believed that his or her actions were necessary to prevent the child from being seriously
    injured or did not have any intent to harm the health, safety, or welfare of the child, the court will consider
    that belief to be a

    valid defense.

    Domesticated

    is the process of the local court
    recognizing and adopting an out-of-state or county court order to be in effect within the local jurisdiction
    through a petition process.

    the most innocent of the community

    children

    Luring or enticing a child

    occurs when a person intentionally lures or entices, or attempts to lure or entice, a child less than
    12 years of age into a structure, dwelling, or conveyance for other than lawful purposes

    The difference between interference with custody and luring or enticing a child is that

    luring or enticing requires the suspect to have an unlawful intention for luring or enticing the child to commit other crimes.

    The suspect in interference with custody may be a

    noncustodial parent or other adult housing a runaway under the assumption that he or she is assisting a child in need.

    False imprisonment,

    occurs when the suspect forcibly, by threat, or secretly
    confines, abducts, imprisons, or restrains another person without lawful authority and against his or her will
    with any purpose other than those referred to in kidnapping.

    Kidnapping is the

    least frequent

    false imprisonment is a

    more common occurrence, often associated
    with domestic violence, armed robbery, and sexual battery crimes.

    To establish probable cause for false imprisonment,

    document the fact that the suspect
    had no lawful authority and that the suspect forcibly, secretly, and by threat confined,
    abducted, imprisoned, and/or restrained the victim against his or her will.

    If someone confines a child who is younger than 13 without the consent of the parent
    or guardian

    that confinement is against the child's will

    Kidnapping

    occurs when the suspect forcibly, secretly, or by threat confines, abducts,
    or imprisons another person against his or her will. Kidnapping is both a statutory and
    federal violation.

    establish probable cause for
    kidnapping,

    document that the suspect had no lawful authority and that the suspect
    forcibly, secretly, by threat confined, abducted, or imprisoned the victim against his or
    her will. In addition, the suspect acted with intent to do at least one of the following:
    โ€ข hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage
    โ€ข commit or help with the commission of a felony
    โ€ข inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person
    โ€ข interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function

    In order for the crime to be kidnapping, the confinement, abduction, or imprisonment:

    โ€ข must not be slight, inconsequential, or merely incidental to the felony;
    โ€ข must not be of the kind inherent in the nature of the felony; and
    โ€ข must have some significance independent of the felony in that it makes the felony
    substantially easier to commit or substantially lessens the risk of detection.

    Confinement of a child less than 13 years of age is against his or her will if

    such confinement is without the consent of his or her parent or legal guardian.

    Kidnapping occurs without lawful authority and

    with intent to hold for ransom or
    reward, hold as hostage or shield, facilitate commission of a felony, interfere with
    governmental or political function, or confine a child less than 13 years of age without
    the consent of the custodial parent.

    When establishing probable cause for voyeurism,

    document that the suspect secretly observed the victim
    and committed the alleged act with a lewd, lascivious, indecent intent

    The words lewd, lascivious, and indecent mean the same thing:

    a wicked, lustful, unchaste, licentious, or
    sensual intent on the part of the person doing the act.

    Voyeurism: When the suspect was observing the victim,

    the victim was in a dwelling, structure, or
    conveyance in which he or she had a reasonable expectation of privacy

    A dwelling

    is any kind of temporary or permanent building or conveyance (such as a
    car); it can be mobile or immobile. When people occupy a dwelling, that means they
    stay there at night; the dwelling also includes the ground and outbuildings immediately
    surrounding it.

    Any attached porch that has a roof over it is part of the

    dwelling or conveyance.

    A structure

    is any kind of building, either temporary or permanent, that has a roof over
    it, including the enclosed space of ground and outbuildings immediately surrounding
    it.

    A conveyance

    is any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad car, trailer, aircraft, or
    sleeping car.

    To establish probable cause for video voyeurism

    โ€ข intentionally used or installed an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or
    record the victim for his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal,
    gratification, profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing the victim,
    โ€ข intentionally permitted the use or installation of an imaging device to secretly
    view, broadcast, or record the victim for the amusement, entertainment, sexual
    arousal, gratification, or profit of another or on behalf of another, or
    โ€ข viewed the body of or the undergarments worn by the victim by using an
    imaging device.

    To establish probable cause for video voyeurism DISSEMINTATION

    โ€ข intentionally used or installed an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or
    record the victim for his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal,
    gratification, for profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing the victim, or
    โ€ข intentionally permitted the use or installation of an imaging device to secretly
    view, broadcast, or record the victim for the amusement, entertainment, sexual
    arousal, gratification, or profit of another or on behalf of another, or
    โ€ข use of the imaging device was for the purpose of viewing the body of or the
    undergarments worn by the victim.The suspect viewed, broadcast, or recorded the victim at a time when the victim was
    dressing, undressing, or privately exposing his or her body. At the place and time when
    the suspect viewed, broadcast, or recorded the victim, the victim had a reasonable
    expectation of privacy. The viewing, broadcast, or recording of the victim was without
    the knowledge and consent of the victim.

    Broadcast

    is electronically transmitting a visual image with the intent that another
    person views it.

    imaging device

    is any mechanical, digital, electronic viewing
    device; still camera, camcorder, or motion picture camera; or any other instrument,
    equipment, or format capable of recording, storing, or transmitting visual images of
    another person.

    place and time when a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy is a statutory reference to when a reasonable person would believe that

    he or she could fully disrobe in privacy, without being concerned their undressing was being viewed,
    recorded, or broadcasted by another.

    establish probable cause
    for lewd or lascivious behavior, indecent assault or act upon or in the presence of a child,
    or sexual battery,

    document that the victim was less than the age of 16 years and the
    suspect did any of the following acts:
    โ€ข made an assault and/or battery upon the victim in a lewd, lascivious, or indecent
    manner, or handled or fondled the victim in a lewd, lascivious, or indecent manner
    โ€ข committed upon the victim, forced, or enticed the victim to commit:
    - actual or simulated sexual intercourse
    - deviate sexual intercourse
    - sexual bestiality
    - masturbation
    - sadomasochistic abuse
    - actual lewd exhibition of the genitals
    - any act or conduct which simulated that sexual battery was being or would be committed on
    the victim
    โ€ข committed an act upon or with the victim in which the sexual organ of the suspect or victim penetrated
    or had union with the anus, vagina, or mouth of the victim or suspect
    โ€ข committed an act upon the victim in which the anus or vagina of the victim was penetrated by an object
    โ€ข knowingly committed a lewd or lascivious act in the presence of the victim

    to establish probable cause for lewd, lascivious, indecent assault in the presence
    of or upon an elderly adult or disabled person

    document that the victim was an elderly or disabled person.
    The suspect knew or reasonably should have known the victim lacked the capacity to consent or failed to give
    consent and the suspect performed or enticed the victim to perform any of the acts in the list above.

    In the presence of

    means the victim saw, heard, or otherwise sensed the act was taking place.

    Lewd or lascivious battery

    involves engaging in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but
    less than 16 years of age; or encouraging, forcing, or enticing any person less than 16 years of age to engage
    in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.

    Lewd or lascivious molestation

    occurs when a person intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner
    the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of
    age, or forces or entices a person less than 16 years of age to touch the offender so.

    Lewd or lascivious conduct

    occurs when a person intentionally touches a person less than 16 years of age
    in a lewd or lascivious manner, or solicits a person less than 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act.

    Lewd or lascivious exhibition

    occurs when a person intentionally masturbates, exposes the genitals in a
    lewd or lascivious manner, or commits any other sexual act that does not involve actual physical or sexual
    contact with the victim. This includes, but is not limited to, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the
    simulation of any act involving sexual activity in the presence of a victim who is less than 16 years of age.
    Doing any of these acts live over a computer online service, internet service, or local bulletin board service
    is also lewd or lascivious exhibition, if the offender knows or should know or has reason to believe the
    transmission is viewed on a computer or television monitor by a victim in Florida who is less than 16 years
    of age.

    Sexting

    occurs when a minor who uses a computer or any electronic device, such as cell phones, to transmit
    or distribute a nude photograph or video to another minor regardless of whether the minors consented to the
    act.

    To establish probable cause for sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older,

    document that the victim
    was 12 years of age or older, and the act was committed without the consent of the victim. The suspect
    committed an act upon or with the victim in which the sexual organ of the suspect or victim penetrated or
    had union with the anus or vagina of the victim or suspect, or the suspect committed an act with an object
    that penetrated the anus or vagina of the victim.

    Consent means

    intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.

    Mentally incapacitated

    means that a person is temporarily incapable of
    appraising or controlling his or her conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating
    substance administered to that person without his or her consent, or due to any other act committed upon that
    person without his or her consent.

    Mentally defective

    describes a person suffering from a mental disease or
    defect that renders that person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the nature of his or her
    conduct.

    Union means

    contact.

    Sexual battery enhanced penalties include:

    โ€ข sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older, with great force
    โ€ข sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older, with specified circumstances
    โ€ข sexual battery, victim less than 12 years of age
    โ€ข unlawful sexual activity with certain minors
    โ€ข committing unnatural and lascivious act
    โ€ข exposure of sexual organs in a vulgar or indecent manner

    To establish probable cause for incest,

    document that the victim was the son or daughter of the suspect. The suspect married the victim or had sexual intercourse with the victim. At the time of the marriage or sexual
    intercourse, the suspect knew the victim was his or her son or daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or
    nephew.

    Sexual intercourse

    is the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ. Ejaculation
    is not necessary.

    sexual battery is one of the most

    underreported crimes because the victim may be embarrassed or may actually have a continuing relationship with the assailant

    Your attitude during a sexual battery investigation can assist the investigation by being

    humane, empathetic,
    patient, sensitive, letting the victim feel he or she is in control, and reassuring the victim that you are there to
    help and develop facts for legal purposes.

    Transport the victim of a sexual battery
    in a

    timely manner and directly to the service provider

    There are special
    considerations for initiating a medical examination for a

    juvenile victim of sexual battery.

    Keep in mind that
    medical personnel's priority is to provide medical treatment to the victim

    not collect evidence

    In a sexual battery, consider the existence of at least two crime scenes

    (one)- is the body of the victim and the
    (two)-is the location(s) of the sexual battery.

    (rape victim) Discourage the victim from using the

    restroom, showering, or discarding any clothing or feminine products on their person during or after the sexual battery

    Ask the victim the following questions during the interview:

    โ€ข Exactly what happened?
    โ€ข When did the sexual battery occur?
    โ€ข Where did the sexual battery occur?
    โ€ข Were there any witnesses present?
    โ€ข Do you know the suspect?
    โ€ข What did the suspect say?
    โ€ข What did the suspect look like? (physical and clothing description)
    โ€ข Did the suspect display a weapon?
    โ€ข Is any property missing?
    โ€ข Have you used the restroom or showered since the attack?
    โ€ข Have you changed clothing since the attack? If yes, where are those clothes?

    Community policing can provide

    awareness of the presence of possible sexual
    offenders and predators in the victim or patrol neighborhood.

    When searching for a suspect of child sexual
    assault

    look for the presence of child erotica, pornography, or videos, or the presence of children's toys or
    child computer games when there are no children residing in the home of a sexual offender or predator. Initiate
    a BOLO if suspect information is available and the suspect is not already in custody.

    Documenting sexual battery includes a

    forensic report and medical report, as well as a criminal report.

    The FDLE crime lab will provide a report from the

    forensic exam kit (rape kit)

    Qualified medical personnel should
    provide the

    medical report to law enforcement

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