Online Sunshine Logo
Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature
August 1, 2014    Search Statutes:      
Interpreter Services for the Hearing Impaired
Go to Senate Kids
Go to MyFlorida House
Select Year:  
The Florida Statutes

The 2014 Florida Statutes

Title XLVI
CRIMES
Chapter 827
ABUSE OF CHILDREN
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 827.03
827.03 Abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of a child; penalties.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Aggravated child abuse” occurs when a person:
1. Commits aggravated battery on a child;
2. Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or
3. Knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.
(b) “Child abuse” means:
1. Intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child;
2. An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or
3. Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
(c) “Maliciously” means wrongfully, intentionally, and without legal justification or excuse. Maliciousness may be 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 that the primary purpose of the acts was to cause the victim unjustifiable pain or injury.
(d) “Mental injury” means injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment in the ability of the child to function within the normal range of performance and behavior as supported by expert testimony.
(e) “Neglect of a child” means:
1. A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health, including, but 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 child; or
2. A caregiver’s failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, neglect of a child may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child.

(2) OFFENSES.
(a) A person who commits aggravated child abuse commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(c) A person who knowingly or willfully abuses a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(d) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(3) EXPERT TESTIMONY.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a physician may not provide expert testimony in a criminal child abuse case unless the physician is a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or has obtained certification as an expert witness pursuant to s. 458.3175.
(b) A physician may not provide expert testimony in a criminal child abuse case regarding mental injury unless the physician is a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 who has completed an accredited residency in psychiatry or has obtained certification as an expert witness pursuant to s. 458.3175.
(c) A psychologist may not give expert testimony in a criminal child abuse case regarding mental injury unless the psychologist is licensed under chapter 490.
(d) The expert testimony requirements of this subsection apply only to criminal child abuse cases and not to family court or dependency court cases.
History.s. 1, ch. 4721, 1899; s. 1, ch. 4971, 1901; GS 3236, 3238; RGS 5069, 5071; s. 1, ch. 9331, 1923; CGL 7171, 7173; s. 1, ch. 65-113; s. 1, ch. 70-8; s. 940, ch. 71-136; s. 49, ch. 74-383; s. 30, ch. 75-298; s. 1, ch. 84-238; s. 8, ch. 96-322; s. 16, ch. 99-168; s. 1, ch. 2003-130; s. 9, ch. 2012-155.
Note.Former s. 828.04.