What is Child Abuse?

How to Report Child Abuse

How to Report Child Abuse

What do I do if I suspect abuse?

If a child discloses that he or she has been abused by someone, it is important that you listen to them most of all.

Report It!

  • Call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or if the child is in immediate danger CALL 911 – You may remain anonymous.
  • Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect is punishable by imprisonment of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000. (Texas Family Code, Chapter 34).
  • Reports from professionals and concerned citizens are received by child protective services (CPS) staff alerting them to concerns about a child's welfare.
  • You may also file a report of suspected abuse using a secure web site:

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  1. Child’s name, age and address
  2. Brief description of the child
  3. Current injuries, medical problems or behavioral problems
  4. Parents’ names and names of siblings in the home

DO NOT

  • Investigate – leave this to the professionals
  • Ask leading questions (a question that suggests the answer or contains the information the questioner is looking for – That man touched you, didn’t he?)
  • Make promises
  • Notify the parents or the caretaker

DO

  • Provide a safe environment (be comforting, welcoming, and a good listener)
  • Tell the child it was not his/her fault
  • Listen carefully
  • Document the child’s exact quotes
  • Be supportive, not judgmental
  • Know your limits
  • Tell the truth and make no promises

Ask ONLY four questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. Who did this to you?
  3. Where were you when this happened?
  4. When did this happen?

Asking any additional questions may contaminate a case!