Reporting Child Abuse
Every state has a child abuse reporting law. Child abuse reporting laws, which did not exist prior to 1963, are seen by many as the underpinnings of our child protection system. When you report child abuse, you are reporting suspected child abuse - you are not making a determination about whether the child is abused or neglected as defined by the law.
Although anyone may report child abuse, mandatory reporting laws, which require certain individuals such as physicians to report suspected abuse, are a critical part of discovering and responding to child abuse. State laws vary but many states include physicians, mental health providers, teachers, social workers, police officers and others who typically have frequent contact with children. For more information, consult your state reporting law or see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws, from the U.S. Department of HHS Children’s Bureau, Child Welfare Information Gateway.
To report suspected child abuse, contact your state or local child protective services department. The National number to call to find your local child abuse hotline is 1-800-4-A-CHILD.