probable cause for ASSAULT, document that the suspect:
โข intentionally and unlawfully threatened, by either word or act, to do violence to
โข appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat at the time, and
โข created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that violence was about to
To establish probable cause for AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, document that the suspect:
โข intentionally and unlawfully threatened, by either word or act, to do violence to
โข must appear to have the ability to carry out the threat at the time,
โข created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that violence was about to
take place, and
โข made a fully formed, conscious intent to commit violence to a victim using a
battery moves violence into the realm of physical contact, which is:
more dangerous to the victim. Both can lead to physical injuries, as the assault can
escalate into a battery.
To establish probable cause for BATTERY
document that the suspect intentionally touched
or struck the victim against his or her will, or the suspect intentionally caused bodily
harm to the victim.
To establish probable cause for AGGRAVATED BATTERY
document that the suspect intentionally touched or struck
the victim against his or her will, or the suspect intentionally caused bodily harm to the victim.In addition, document that while committing the battery, the suspect intentionally or knowingly caused great
bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or used a deadly weapon.
(A weapon) if the suspect uses or threatens to use it in a way likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
If the victim was pregnant at the time of the battery and the suspect knew or should have known the victim
this upgrades the battery charge to AGGRAVATED BATTERY
To establish probable cause for FELONY BATTERY
document that the suspect actually and intentionally touched
or struck the victim against his or her will and that the suspect caused the victim great bodily harm, permanent
disability, or permanent disfigurement.
If the victim of the assault, aggravated assault, battery or aggravated battery is 65 years of age or older,
degree of the offense will change.
The assault, aggravated assault, battery, or aggravated battery of an OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER, or EMS provider requires
you to document three other elements:
โข The victim was at the time of the assault a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMS provider, traffic
accident investigation officer, traffic infraction enforcement officer, parking enforcement specialist,
security officer employed by the board of trustees of a community college, or federal law enforcement
โข The victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties at the time of the assault.
โข The suspect knew the victim was one of the workers listed above at the time of the assault.
The battery of a CORRECTIONAL FACILITY EMPLOYEE requires you to document an additional five elements:
โข The suspect was in a correctional facility, in custody.
โข The suspect intentionally touched, struck, or attempted to touch or strike the victim against his or her
will by throwing, tossing, or expelling blood, saliva, chewed food, seminal fluid, urine, or feces
at the victim.
โข The suspect intended to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm the victim.
โข The victim was a correctional facility employee.
โข The suspect knew the victim or had reason to know the victim was a facility employee.
Even when the battery is not committed in your
you have the authority to arrest a suspect for a battery.
victim's rights packet explains options for
problem resolution or a possible course of action. These packets will vary from agency
to agency and by Florida Statutes, but it is REQUIRED that all victims receive one.
involves unwanted and repeated attention by the suspect towards the victim,
family members, or individuals closely associated with the victim. It occurs across all
socioeconomic and cultural barriers.
Stalking is a crime of power
and control and can easily escalate
into aggravated stalking as the suspect progresses to more possessive and controlling
Many times stalking events do not come to the attention of law enforcement
until the situation has
progressed to another crime such as sexual battery, aggravated
assault, or murder.
When establishing probable cause for stalking,
document whether the suspect willfully, maliciously, and
repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyber-stalked the victim.
is any behavior that targets a specific person and causes that person
substantial emotional distress, and serves NO LEGITIMATE PURPOSE
is harassment communicated through words or images by using email or other electronic
forms of communication.
occurs if an injunction is in place, the victim was under the age of 16 when the crime occurred, and/or if there are court-ordered restrictions.
To establish probable cause for AGGRAVATED STALKING
document that the suspect willfully,
maliciously, and repeatedly, followed, harassed, or cyber-stalked the victim, and the
suspect made a credible threat with the intent to place the victim in reasonable fear of
death or bodily injury.
is a threat made with the intent to cause the person, who is the target
of the threat, to fear for his or her safety, the safety of family members, or that of the
individuals closely associated with the victim. The threat must be to cause bodily injury
to or END THE LIFE OF A PERSON
Some of the most sensitive and disturbing crimes include
child abuse, child
neglect, child abandonment, and the sexual battery of a child.
is any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical,
mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child's physical,
mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Abuse of a child includes acts
reasonable corporal discipline
When it does not cause harm to the child, by a parent or legal custodian for disciplinary purposes is not abuse.
Harm can be any of the following:
โข sprain, dislocation, or cartilage damage, bone or skull fracture, brain or spinal
cord damage, intracranial hemorrhage, or injury to another internal organ
โข asphyxiation, suffocation, or drowning
โข injury resulting from the use of a deadly weapon
โข burns or scalding, cuts, lacerations, punctures, or bites
โข permanent or temporary disfigurement, permanent or temporary loss or
impairment of a body part or function
To establish probable cause for CHILD ABUSE, document that the victim was less than 18
years of age and the suspect knowingly or willfully:
โข inflicted physical or mental injury upon the child victim
โข committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in
physical or mental injury to the child victim
โข actively encouraged another person to commit an act that resulted in or could
reasonably have been expected to result in physical or mental injury upon the
is an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of
a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment in the ability to
function within the normal range of performance and behavior.
Legal custody is:
โข a legal status created by a court, which appoints a person a custodian or guardian,
whether an agency or an individual (for example, the Department of Children
and Families may have custody, or a member of the child's extended family may
be awarded custody)
โข the right to have physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect,
nurture, guide, and discipline the child
โข the right to provide the child with food, shelter, education, and ordinary medical,
dental, psychiatric, and psychological care
to establish probable cause for
AGGRAVATED CHILD ABUSE document that the victim was less than 18 years
of age and the suspect did any of the
โข committed aggravated battery upon the victim
โข willfully tortured the victim
โข maliciously punished the victim
โข willfully and unlawfully caged the victim
โข knowingly or willfully committed child abuse upon the victim and in so doing
caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, or
uses a deadly weapon
โข wrongful, intentional, and without legal justification or excuse;
โข established by circumstances from which one could conclude that a reasonable
parent would not have engaged in the damaging acts toward the child for any
valid reason; and
โข when the primary purpose of the acts was to cause the victim unjustifiable pain
Document that the victim was less than 18 years of age to establish
probable cause for child neglect
WITHOUT bodily harm.
The suspect was a caregiver for the victim and 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
occurs when a caregiver deprives a child of, or allows the deprivation of,
necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment, or allows the child to live in an
environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child's physical, mental,
or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly
is recklessly acting without reasonable
caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death (or failing to do something
with the same consequences).
Culpable negligence is more than
a failure to use ordinary
care for others; it is gross and flagrant negligence, committed with an utter disregard for
the safety of others
Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct the suspect must have known,
or reasonably should have known, was likely
to cause death or great bodily harm.
Establish probable cause for child neglect with bodily harm by documenting that
victim was less than 18 years of age, the suspect was a caregiver for the victim, and the
suspect caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, and/or permanent disfigurement
to the victim because the suspect either:
โข 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
โข failed to make a reasonable effort to protect the victim from abuse, neglect, or
exploitation by another person.
To establish probable cause for leaving a child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle, document that
the victim was LESS THAN SIX YEARS of age and that the suspect was:
โข a parent of, legal guardian for, or person responsible for the victim,
โข left the victim unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for more than 15 MINUTES or while the
motor was running and the health of the victim was in danger, and
โข caused great bodily harm, a permanent disability, and/or permanent disfigurement to the victim.
Signs of Child Abuse or Neglect
Child abuse or neglect may include the following:
โข inflicting or allowing physical, mental, or emotional injury
โข committing or allowing sexual battery, or lewd or lascivious acts
โข allowing, encouraging, or forcing the sexual exploitation of a child
โข abandoning a child
โข exposing a child to an illegal controlled substance
โข using mechanical devices, unreasonable restraint, or extended periods of isolation to control a child
โข engaging in violent behavior that demonstrates a wanton disregard for the presence of a child and could
reasonably result in serious injury to the child
โข negligently failing to protect a child from inflicted physical, mental, or sexual injury caused by acts
โข allowing a child's sibling to die because of abuse or neglect
Behaviors that may indicate child abuse include the following:
โข fears remaining at home, or returning to the home
โข wary of adult contact
โข startles easily
โข appears overly affectionate (inappropriate) or withdrawn
โข acts violently or aggressively
โข cries uncontrollably
โข exhibits inappropriate sexual behavior
Certain parental behaviors can indicate an environment of abuse, such as
a very tense atmosphere in the home,
unreasonable discipline, unrealistic expectations, and impulsive and inconsistent behaviors.
Signs of neglect in the home can
be the absence of necessities
such as food, water, and heat. Victims can have bedsores, skin disorders, rashes, untreated injuries, or medical
problems.The child may exhibit poor personal hygiene, including soiled clothing, matted or lice-infested hair,
odors, dirty nails or skin, and the presence of feces.
If the child's size is inconsistent with his or her age, this may be a sign of
malnutrition and hunger.
Fragile skin, dry, sore mouth, apathy, lack of energy, and mental confusion can indicate
There may be signs of mismanaging
medication such as
empty, unmarked, and outdated prescription bottles.
A parent does not commit child abandonment or neglect, or contribute to a child's dependency, if he or she
leaves a newborn infant at a hospital, EMS station, fire station, or brings a newborn infant to an emergency
room and expresses intent to leave the infant and not return.
is a child whom a licensed physician reasonably believes to be approximately seven (7) days old or younger.
*Unless there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, a parent has the right to remain anonymous when surrendering an
infant. You may not pursue or follow a parent that surrenders his or her newborn infant.
is a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent
or legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, has made no significant contribution to the child's care and
maintenance or has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child, or both.
elements of contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child
Examples include an adult keeping a child home from school, committing a crime in the
presence of a child, or serving alcoholic beverages to a child.
Establish probable cause for contributing to a child
becoming a delinquent or dependent child, or a child in need of services by documenting that
knowingly commits any acts that cause, tend to cause, encourage, or contribute to a child becoming a
delinquent or dependent child or a child in need of services.
To establish probable cause for contributing to child dependency by a person 21 years or older impregnating
a child less than 16 years of age,
document that at the time, the victim was less than 16 years of age, and the
suspect was 21 years of age or older and impregnated the victim. Even if the victim consented or had a sexual
history, such an interaction is still illegal.
To establish probable cause for arresting a person for the use of a child in a sexual performance,
document that the victim was less than 18 years of age at the time that the suspect employed, authorized, or induced the
victim to engage in a sexual performance, and knew the character and content of the performance.
is any performance or part of the performance, which includes sexual conduct by a child
less than 18 years of age.
is any play, motion picture, photograph, or dance or any other visual
representation exhibited before an audience or just one person.
is any of the following:
โข actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, or
โข actual lewd exhibition of the genitals
โข actual physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if such
person is a female, breast, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party
โข any act or conduct that constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will
A mother's breastfeeding of her baby does not constitute, under any circumstance,
as sexual conduct.
Deviate sexual intercourse
is sexual conduct between people not married to each other consisting of contact between
the penis and the anus, the mouth and the penis, or the mouth and the vulva.
is flagellation or torture by or upon a person, or the condition of being fettered, bound, or otherwise physically
restrained, for the purpose of deriving sexual satisfaction from inflicting harm on another or receiving such
is oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another
or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an
act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
is any sexual act between a person and an animal
involving the sex organ of the one and the mouth, anus, or vagina of the other.
is the explicit depiction of sexual conduct, which creates the appearance of such conduct, and exhibits any uncovered portion
of the breasts, genitals, or buttocks.
To establish probable cause for using a child in a sexual performance with the consent of a parent, legal
guardian, or custodian,
document that at the time, the victim was less than 18 years of age. The suspect was
the parent, legal guardian, or custodian of the victim, employed, authorized, and/or induced the victim to
engage in a sexual performance, and knew the character and content of the performance.
To establish probable cause for promoting a sexual performance by a child,
document that the performance
included sexual conduct by a child less than 18 years of age, and the suspect produced, directed, and/or
promoted a performance and knew the character and content of the performance.
means to procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmute,
publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do the same.
To establish probable cause for possession of material including sexual conduct by a child less than 18 years
document the photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, and/or presentation
included, in whole or in part. Also, document that the suspect knowingly possessed a photograph, motion
picture, exhibition, show, representation, and/or presentation, and knew the photograph, motion picture,
exhibition, show, representation, and/or presentation included sexual conduct by a child less than 18 years
To establish probable cause for possession of material including sexual conduct by a child, with intent to
document that the suspect
possessed, with intent to promote a photograph, motion
picture,exhibition, show, or representation. In addition, the
presentation and the photograph, motion picture,
exhibition, show, representation, and/or presentation included, in whole or in part, sexual conduct by a child
less than 18 years of age.
When establishing probable cause for soliciting a child or a person believed to be a child for unlawful sexual
conduct using a computer service or device,
document that the suspect knowingly used a computer connected
to the internet or local bulletin board service capable of electronic data storage or transmission to contact the
victim. The victim was a child or someone the suspect believed was a child.
trade child pornography online and use computers to solicit sexual performances by children
and lure them into sexual liaisons
Many pedophiles use
chatting and email to coordinate traveling to meet
child victims. File sharing, peer-to-peer networks, and malware contribute to 99 percent of child porn that
predators share on the internet.
Prohibited computer transmissions of sexual acts live over a computer online service, internet service, or local
bulletin board service are
lewd or lascivious exhibition, if the offender knows, should know, or has reason
to believe that a victim in Florida who is less than 16 years of age views the transmission on a computer or
is a felony, which varies in degree depending upon the age of the victim, the mental and physical
capacity of the victim, the type of force used, the threat or use of a deadly weapon, and the type of injuries
Any sexual battery on a child is considered child abuse
if the suspect is a person who has familial or
Sexual battery upon a child 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age by a
person who has familial or custodial authority and solicitation of a child less than 18 years of age to engage in
an act that constitutes sexual battery by a person in a familial or custodial authority is
Sexual battery occurs when
the suspect commits an act upon and/or with the victim, in which the sexual organ
of the suspect or victim penetrated or had union with the anus, vagina, and/or mouth of the victim and/or
According to s. 794.011(2), F.S., the following crimes, taught under sexual offenses, are not child abuse unless
a person in a familial or custodial authority commits one of the crimes:
โข sexual battery, victim less than 12 years of age
โข sexual battery, person 12 years of age or older
โข sexual battery, victim 12 years of age or older, great force
โข sexual battery, victim 12 years of age or older, specified circumstances
โข unlawful sexual activity with certain minors
โข committing unnatural and lascivious act
โข exposure of sexual organs in a vulgar or indecent manner
If you are conducting an investigation of
child abuse prior to DCF notification
contact the abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE or 1-866-LE-ABUSE
(law enforcement only) to mobilize additional resources
Due to the nature of the DCF
you should be able to use much of the information from the DCF investigator in a criminal
investigation to prove the elements of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Due to the hostile nature of these types of calls,
the unarmed DCF investigator is at risk
for physical violence.
DCF Call: One of your primary responsibilities is to
provide security while the DCF investigator conducts his or her social services investigation.
Your feelings about child abuse and child discipline can
interfere with your judgment during a child abuse incident, but you should maintain a professional, fair, and impartial attitude while conducting a child abuse investigation.
If you attempt to verify the child's safety and the parent or guardian refuses access to the child, determine if:
the child is in immediate danger. "If the child is in immediate danger, contact your supervisor and determine
the best method for removing the child"
The law authorizes DCF investigators to remove children from
a caretaker's custody and control without a custody order.
DCF INVESTIGATION: If the child is not in immediate danger,
determine the relationship between the suspect and victim to protect
the child from further abuse by physically separating the child and the suspect. Make sure the child and the
suspect cannot see or hear each other. This prevents the suspect from using eye contact or body language to
intimidate or coerce the child.