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How to report child abuse

How to report child abuse

Reporting child abuse and neglect is EVERYONE'S responsibility!

Who To Call: IN MISSOURI - 1-800-392-3738
Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline Operated by the Missouri Department of Social Services. Children's Division is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. State law requires DSS to respond to the information you provide in a timely manner. If you live outside Missouri and want to report abuse or neglect of a Missouri child, call 573-751-3448.

NATIONWIDE USA - 1-800-4ACHILD (800-422-4453)
National Child Abuse Hotline Provides multilingual crisis intervention and professional counseling on child abuse. Gives referrals to local social service groups offering counseling on child abuse. Has literature on child abuse in English and Spanish. Operates 24 hours.

TDD users call 1-800-2A-CHILD (800-222-4453)

If child is currently in danger call 911 or your local law enforcement.

What should you do when you suspect abuse or neglect?
Investigators need specific information to be able to respond to a complaint of abuse or neglect. Try to have the following information:
  • The name of the child
  • The name of the parent(s)
  • The name of the alleged abuser
  • Where the child can be located
You will also be asked:
  • Is the child in a life-threatening situation now?
  • How do you know about the abuse/neglect?
  • Did you witness the abuse/neglect?
  • Were there other witnesses and how can they be contacted?

CONSIDER IDENTIFYING YOURSELF - Although you don't have to identify yourself when you make a hotline call, being able to contact you later helps investigators do a more thorough investigation. They may need to ask you for more information during the investigation process.

WHAT IF YOUR'RE NOT SURE IT'S ABUSE OR NEGLECT? If you suspect abuse, call the Child Abuse hotline. Investigators will make the determination of abuse.

ERR ON THE SIDE OF OVER-REPORTING. If you have the thought "Maybe I should call . . ." -- DO!

Not all calls to the hotline are determined to be abuse/neglect. However, services and assistance can often be provided to help families prevent abuse.