“Less than 1/3 of victims told a peer or a parent immediately after an incident occurs. They found that 1/3 of victims delay disclosure up to five years, and that 1/3 wait longer than five years.”

Townsend, C. (2016). Child sexual abuse disclosure: What practitioners need to know.
Charleston, S.C., Darkness to Light. Retrieved from

It is not a moral decision to get involved when you think a
child may be harmed, it is your legal responsibility.

T.C.A.37.1.403: “(a) (1) Any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect or that, on the basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect.”

If a child shares information about abuse with you:

  • Remain calm; do not overreact;
  • Believe the child;
  • Allow the child to talk but do not press them or overwhelm with questions;
  • Show interest and concern;
  • Reassure and support the child;
  • Do not blame or minimize the child’s feelings;
  • Do not promise anything you cannot control;
  • Do not confront the offender;

Do make a report immediately ~ you could save a child’s life!

Be conscious of the children you see, and always report any suspected abuse to the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-877-237-0004 or online to This hotline is staffed 24-hours day, 7-days each week. Reports are completely confidential and can be made anonymously.

What will I need to provide when making a report? 

When you contact the Child Abuse Hotline, you will be asked for detailed information about what you suspect or know about the child’s circumstances.

You will be asked to provide:

  • Child Information: name, age, date of birth, address, current location, person caring for child, and need/receiving medical treatment.
  • Parent/Guardian Information: name, address, phone number as well as any domestic violence, substance abuse, criminal history, mental health issues, or family history with Dept. Children’s Services.
  • Alleged Perpetrator Information: name, address, phone number, relation to the child, behavioral issues, and other children who may be at risk.
  • Allegation: what happened, the extent of any injuries sustained, when, and where it occurred.
  • Any other relevant information.

Even if you are unable to provide all of the information above, please contact the Hotline to make a report if you suspect any child is a victim of child abuse or neglect. 

To learn more or to request a training for your group click here for more information.