Reporting Child Abuse
1. How can I report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect?
If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
To report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect, call the DHR office for your county. An intake worker will take your report. Be prepared to give as much information as possible, including the child's name, address, age, and why you suspect abuse. It will help if you can also give the names of the parents or guardians of the child. The intake worker will also ask for your name and contact information, but you are permitted to make an anonymous report to DHR. Please keep in mind that the most credible and useful reports to DHR will provide sufficient information for DHR to be able to investigate.
2. What are the signs of child abuse or neglect?
Recognizing Child Abuse
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect. The Child:
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents' attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
- Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child's problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
Reproduced from the Child Welfare Information Gateway
3. How can I get my child interviewed at a CAC to determine if he or she has been abused?
Children are referred to a CAC by DHR. If you suspect that your child has been abused, you have several options. You can call the DHR office for your county, and file a report with an intake worker, or you can call your local police and file a report, or you can call your county sheriff and file a report. No matter which method you choose, all reports of child abuse will go to your county DHR office for referral to the CAC.
4. What is a Mandatory Reporter?
Mandatory reporters are indviduals who are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the proper authorities. The proper authorities include: 911, the police department in the city where the child resides, the county sheriff where the child resides, or the county DHR office where the child resides.