Recognizing, Responding and Reporting Child Abuse

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglect, please call Indiana’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You do not have to be afraid anyone will find out who made the report because you can report it anonymously.

Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
1-800-800-5556

Professionals, neighbors, caregivers, and peers all contribute to the recognition of and response to child maltreatment. We believe protecting children from abuse and neglect, and ensuring the healthy growth and development of all children is a community effort and responsibility. Indiana law states that all persons are required to report all cases of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation. This means intervening when it is believed that a child might be at risk.

It is important recognize that you play a critical role in helping maintain a child’s safety. The first step in this process is being aware and able to recognize when potential child maltreatment is occurring. Be able to answer the question: what type of child maltreatment have I just witnessed? The abuse could fall under child neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse or sexual abuse. Understand that you could be the first and possibly only person to witness the unlawful acts, and that your response could be the child’s only hope of seeking protection.

Responding to such acts means reporting it. You do not need proof that maltreatment has occurred; you only need reasonable cause to suspect abuse.

When you call Indiana Department of Child Services, it is important that you have all of the identifying information in front of you: name, age of each child, address, phone number. You may call without this information, but it helps Indiana Department of Child Services quickly investigate. When you are describing a situation, remain calm and maintain a “factual” manner with dates, eyewitness observations and direct conversations. Biased language is often a “red flag” for an Indiana Department of Child Services report, which is why it is important to keep your report factual.