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Child Abuse & Neglect Frequently Asked Question #2

Published: September 16, 2012
Child Abuse & Neglect


Can I make an anonymous report of abuse?


Many States accept anonymous reports of alleged child abuse and neglect. It is important to note, however, that all States are required to preserve the confidentiality of all child maltreatment reports, except in certain limited circumstances: see Disclosure of Confidential Records at http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/confide.... Confidentiality refers to protecting the information from public view, including protecting the identity of the reporter from the person suspected of abuse or neglect.

Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect is everyone’s responsibility. If you have any concerns about the treatment of a child, you should report your concerns to the appropriate authorities in the State in which the child resides. Each State has trained professionals who can evaluate the situation and determine whether intervention and services are needed. Most States have a toll-free number to call to report suspected abuse.  Please refer to the related organizations listing at  http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=5&rate_... for information about where to call to make a report with your State.

Another resource for information on how and where to file a report of suspected child abuse and neglect is the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline. Childhelp® can be reached 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, at its toll-free number, 1.800.4-A-CHILD® (1.800.422.4453).

Some people are required by law to report their suspicions of child abuse and neglect.  Every State and the District of Columbia have statutes identifying mandatory reporters of child maltreatment (http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/manda.cfm) and the circumstances under which they are required to make a report. Mandatory reporters may not be allowed to report anonymously; call or check your State child welfare agency for more information; for contact information see http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp_website.cfm?rs_ID=16&....