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Kids' Advocacy Place

Stopping Child Abuse    -    One Child at a Time

How to Report Abuse


How do you know it's time to report abuse?

When you see obvious signs of abuse, or patterns of abuse on a child, report it.

(as when you witness the act of abuse, see severe bruising or burns etc., that can't be explained, or when a child describes to you that he or she is being abused)

NOTE:  It is not up to professionals or adults who discover concerns for abuse to DETERMINE if it is actually child abuse or not.  That is for DFPS, Law Enforcement, and the courts to decide.  They will investigate it and make that determination.  As concerned adults, it is simply our duty to report it.

What do I need to have in hand before I call or go online to report the abuse?

For Parents, Professionals in Day Care, School, or other contact points with children outside home:

*  Get all related info possible on paper in front of you:  

- names of victims and offenders, their ages,

- parent's names and phone numbers  

- home address where victim lives, school where victim attends, home phone numbers

- any witnesses related to the abuse, dates when abuse occurred (if you know),

- location(s) where abuse occurred

- a brief summary on what you experienced, saw or heard as to the reasons for your concerns, which would include the            outcry disclosure of abuse from the victim.

- BE SURE TO ASK if the child is afraid to go home (if abuse happened there).  DFPS will want to know that.

Note:  Those who report abuse are protected by confidentiality through DFPS, Law Enforcement, and Child Advocacy Centers (like KAP) across the state and nation.

Who should report abuse?

      *Texas Family Code states:

What's The Law

Anyone "having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect" must report the case to any state or local law enforcement agency and to the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.  Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect is punishable by imprisonment of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000. (Texas Family Code, Chapter 34)




(a)  A person having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as provided by this subchapter.

(b)  If a professional has cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected or may be abused or neglected, or that a child is a victim of an offense under Section 21.11, Penal Code, and the professional has cause to believe that the child has been abused as defined by Section 261.001 or 261.401, the professional shall make a report not later than the 48th hour after the hour the professional first suspects that the child has been or may be abused or neglected or is a victim of an offense under Section 21.11, Penal Code.  A professional may not delegate to or rely on another person to make the report.  In this subsection, "professional" means an individual who is licensed or certified by the state or who is an employee of a facility licensed, certified, or operated by the state and who, in the normal course of official duties or duties for which a license or certification is required, has direct contact with children.  The term includes teachers, nurses, doctors, day-care employees, employees of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services, juvenile probation officers, and juvenile detention or correctional officers.

NOTE:  As a prudent adult falling outside the professional domains listed in the Family Code, neighbors or even family members who might witness or become aware of abuse to a child, should, in our opinion, do the "right" thing and make a report to law enforcement or the Department of Family Protective Services.  


As mentioned elsewhere, you can report child abuse by calling the Department of Family Protective Services at  800-252-5400  or go to the online web site at Report Child Abuse ONLINE:  https://www.txabusehotline.org/Default.aspx

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