False Reporting Guidelines

Anyone reporting in good faith shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability. Any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false report or counsels another to make a false report is guilty of a felony of the third degree punishable by up to five years in prison. In addition, the department may impose a fine not to exceed $10,000 for each violation. Each time that a false report is made constitutes a separate violation. A false report is a report of child abuse, neglect or abandonment or adult abuse, neglect or exploitation that is made to the central abuse hotline which is not true and is maliciously made for the purpose of:

  • Harassing, embarrassing, or harming another person;
  • Personal financial gain for the reporting person;
  • Acquiring custody of a child or vulnerable adult; or
  • Personal benefit for the reporting person in any other private dispute involving a child or vulnerable adult

Section 39.205, Florida Statutes (F.S.) states what the department has to do concerning false reporting for children and Section 415.111, F.S. addresses with false reporting for adults.