How to Report Child Abuse

What do I do if I think someone is abusing a child?

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If a child discloses that someone has abused him/her, 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)
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) receives reports from concerned citizens, alerting them to check on children in dangerous situations.
  • Citizens may also file a report of suspected abuse using a secure web site: www.txabusehotline.org

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

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DO

  • Provide a safe environment (be a good listener while welcoming and comforting the child)
  • Assure the child the situation 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! ***