If you suspect or know of child abuse occurring, it is your duty as the adult to report it. Please remember that children are our future and they cannot protect themselves, so it is up to us to listen to our children, watch for warning signs and report child abuse when we suspect it is occurring. If you see a frustrated parent, offer your help and support to them. Working together we can end the cycle of abuse.
Know the warning signs
The following indicators, as listed by category, may pertain to more than one form of abuse or neglect.
According to Childhelp USA, the most common signs and symptoms are:
- Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or welts in the shape of an object
- Bite marks
- Anti-social behavior
- Problems in school
- Fear of adults
- Hostility or stress
- Lack of concentration
- Eating disorders
- Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts
- Nightmares and bed wetting
- Drastic changes in appetite
- Overcompliance or excessive aggression
- Fear of a particular person or family member
- Unsuitable clothing for weather
- Dirty or unbathed
- Extreme hunger
- Apparent lack of supervision
Report what you see
Call the Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. Be specific about your observations; tell exactly what happened and when. Record all injuries or incidents, including dates and time of day, and keep this information secured.
Your report is confidential and is not subject to public release under the Open Records Act. Your identity is kept confidential. If you have reason to suspect child abuse or neglect, but are not certain, please contact the hotline for more information or submit your report on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services online reporting website.
(Information on reporting abuse was provided by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.)