(1) The department shall establish and maintain a central abuse hotline that receives all reports made pursuant to s. 415.1034 in writing or through a single statewide toll-free telephone number. Any person may use the statewide toll-free telephone number to report known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult at any hour of the day or night, any day of the week. The central abuse hotline must be operated in such a manner as to enable the department to:
(a) Accept reports for investigation when there is a reasonable cause to suspect that a vulnerable adult has been or is being abused, neglected, or exploited.
(b) Determine whether the allegations made by the reporter require an immediate, 24-hour, or next-working-day response priority.
(c) When appropriate, refer calls that do not allege the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult to other organizations that might better resolve the reporter’s concerns.
(d) Immediately identify and locate prior reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation through the central abuse hotline.
(e) Track critical steps in the investigative process to ensure compliance with all requirements for all reports.
(f) Maintain data to facilitate the production of aggregate statistical reports for monitoring patterns of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
(g) Serve as a resource for the evaluation, management, and planning of preventive and remedial services for vulnerable adults who have been subject to abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
(2) Upon receiving an oral or written report of known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, the central abuse hotline must determine if the report requires an immediate onsite protective investigation. For reports requiring an immediate onsite protective investigation, the central abuse hotline must immediately notify the department’s designated protective investigative district staff responsible for protective investigations to ensure prompt initiation of an onsite investigation. For reports not requiring an immediate onsite protective investigation, the central abuse hotline must notify the department’s designated protective investigative district staff responsible for protective investigations in sufficient time to allow for an investigation to be commenced within 24 hours. At the time of notification of district staff with respect to the report, the central abuse hotline must also provide any known information on any previous report concerning a subject of the present report or any pertinent information relative to the present report or any noted earlier reports. If the report is of known or suspected abuse of a vulnerable adult by someone other than a relative, caregiver, or household member, the report shall be immediately transferred to the appropriate county sheriff’s office.
(3) The department shall set standards, priorities, and policies to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the central abuse hotline.
History.—ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, ch. 73-176; s. 1, ch. 77-174; ss. 3, 5, ch. 79-287; s. 15, ch. 79-298; s. 1, ch. 80-293; s. 1, ch. 83-82; s. 67, ch. 86-163; s. 29, ch. 86-220; s. 30, ch. 87-238; s. 16, ch. 88-337; s. 27, ch. 89-294; s. 2, ch. 90-50; s. 45, ch. 90-306; s. 2, ch. 91-57; s. 14, ch. 91-71; s. 36, ch. 95-210; s. 95, ch. 95-418; s. 27, ch. 2000-349; s. 3, ch. 2010-31.