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.
If the 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:
- What are the worrying behaviors that you are calling about today?
- What happened to the child/children as a result of the worrying behaviors?
- What are you most worried about will happen to the child/children if nothing in the family changes?
- What actions have been taken other than making this call?
- Is there anything going on in or around that family that would make this situation more difficult to handle?
- What are the best aspects of the adult’s care for the child/children?
- What needs to happen differently for you to be confident the children are safe enough?
- On a scale of 0-10 where 10 means the child is completely safe right now and 0 means that if no action is taken, the child could be seriously hurt or injured in the next 24 hours, where would you rate this family?
The Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline Unit utilizes Signs of Safety when screening calls. To learn more about Signs of Safety, please visit https://www.signsofsafety.net/.
Let’s Stop Child Abuse – It’s Okay to tell!
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 YOU'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.
Members of certain occupational groups, such as teachers, social workers, and physicians are mandated by law to make reports to the hotline and are considered mandated reporters. For a complete list of mandated reporters, please review RSMo 210.115.1.
Mandated reporters can report suspected child abuse and neglect by calling the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline directly, or by making a report online. Online reporting should only be used in non-emergency situations.
Effective August 28, 2004, Missouri law requires all mandated reporters to identify themselves when making a report. For more information, review the guidelines for mandated reporters.