Child Abuse and Neglect - How Child Abuse Is Reported
Laws about reporting abuse
The law requires certain
people, such as doctors, social workers, and teachers, to report suspected
child abuse and neglect. Usually the report is made to the police or to
child welfare or child protection agencies. In some areas the law requires all citizens to report suspected abuse or neglect.
Police and child welfare workers investigate the report. If the government believes a crime has been committed, the suspected abuser is tried and, if found guilty, sentenced.
Investigators sometimes can't find enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. In this case, parents or caregivers may be referred to social
services to lower the child's risk of being hurt.
Knowing when to call police
When you suspect a child is, or is
at risk of, being abused or neglected, it is important to take action. Most
abused children are not able to help themselves.
Many people don't know what to do about suspected
abuse, because they:
- Are not sure what is considered abuse and
- Are afraid they'll cause the child more
- Are worried that they will falsely accuse a parent or caregiver.
- Are afraid the abuser will hurt or harass them.
- Are worried about being sued.
Keep in mind that by reporting your suspicions,
you may prevent a child from being seriously hurt or even killed and from having lifelong
emotional problems. You can make reports anonymously. If you
give your name, it is kept confidential.
Also, you can't be sued successfully if you make a report in good