What is child abuse and neglect?
Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caretaker, someone living in their home or someone who works with or around children. The mistreatment must cause injury or must put the child at risk of physical injury. Child abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. Neglect happens when a parent or responsible caretaker fails to provide adequate supervision, food, clothing, shelter or other basic needs for a child.
When should I call the hotline?
You should call the abuse hotline whenever you believe that a person who is caring for the child, who lives with the child, or who works with or around children has caused injury or harm or put the child at risk of physical injury. A few examples are:
- If you see someone hit a child with an object
- If you notice marks on a child's body that do not appear to be caused by an accident
- If a child tells you that he/she has been harmed
- If a child appears undernourished, inappropriately dressed for the weather, or has been left alone
If you have witnessed child abuse or neglect please call the toll-free hotline:
What information should I report?
When reporting suspected abuse or neglect it is important to have details. The following should be provided to the hot line worker:
- The child's name, age and address
- When and where the suspected abuse occurred
- The nature of the suspected abuse
- The name(s) of the suspected perpetrators and their relationship to the child
When should I not call the hotline?
Some situations may not require a call to the hotline. Please use good judgment and only call if you believe a child has been or will be injured as previously described. The following are some examples of when you SHOULD NOT call the hotline:
- A situation where a child is causing a problem that concerns you, but the problem is not related to abuse or neglect. In some cases, you may wish to call law enforcement or talk to the child's parents or relatives
- Domestic situations where family stress is evident, but the child has not been abused or is at risk of abuse. Community service agencies are often able to help