What to do if you suspect abuse

What to do if you suspect abuse or neglect?

If a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police department first. Then call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 to make a report. The Texas Abuse Hotline is open 24/7/365.  Report via the online reporting system for non-urgent situations only at www.txabusehotline.org  (Although anonymous, first time users must create a login and password.) A non-urgent situation means that intervention is not needed within 24 hours.

  • Signs of Child Abuse
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Changes in behavior
  • Returning to earlier behaviors
  • Fear of certain places or people
  • Changes in eating
  • Changes in sleeping
  • Changes in school performance or attendance
  • Lack of personal care or hygiene
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors

Reporting Requirements

Texas law requires that any professional who suspects a child is being abused or neglected must make a report to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or any local or state law enforcement agency within 48 hours. Reports must be made of any suspected abuse or neglect, not just acts of physical abuse. The obligation to report includes abuse that may occur.

Those reporting are not required to have proof that a child is being abused but must have reasonable cause to know or suspect abuse. As long as the report is made in good faith, the reported is protected from civil and criminal liability.

Confidentiality

The Texas Family Code specifically states that both a child abuse report and the identity of an individual making a report are confidential and may be disclosed only by order of a court or to a law enforcement officer for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation.  

Source: Texas Classroom Teacher Association's website.

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