How to Handle a Disclosure

Reporting Child Abuse

Everyone in the state of Tennessee is a MANDATED REPORTER of child abuse.

Less than three percent of cases of child sexual abuse are fabricated. A child will rarely make up
a story about sexual abuse.

If a child discloses to you or there is a reason to suspect, you need to make the report. If a child
discloses to multiple adults at once, they can call together.

How to react to a disclosure:

The DOs
• DO validate the child
• DO tell them you believe them
• DO tell them that you’re proud of them
• Ask Non-leading questions
• Support a culture of reporting and respecting victim’s confidentiality

The Do NOTS:
• Do NOT do your own investigation (recording statements, taking pictures)
• Do NOT ask leading questions
• Do NOT minimize disclosure

When to make a report:
• A report will be made directly after any suspicion, discovery, and/or disclosure of child
abuse or neglect.

• Every report made to the department of children’s services (through the child abuse
hotline 1-877-54-ABUSE) is confidential and is covered by good faith laws.

• Reports can be made anonymously.

How to make a report:
Hotline: 1-877-54-ABUSE (2873)

• You may not know all the answers to the questions asked about the child and/or the case, but that is not necessary for the report.

• It is important for the reporter to describe the behavior and physical signs that were noticed in the child or information that the child shared.

• Reporter’s name and/or location is confidential.

• If there is an immediate threat or danger, a report should be made to law enforcement in addition to the Child Abuse Hotline.

What to know when making a report:

What to (try to) Know:

  • Child(ren) names, ages, address, phone numbers, race, and school/daycare information
  • Parent(s) Legal Guardian(s), or caretaker(s) information
  • Other household members’ information
  • Nature of the harm or specific incident(s) that precipitated the report
  • Specific allegation(s), date(s) and descriptions(s) of the injuries or dangers
  • Identities of the alleged perpetrator(s) and their relationship(s) to the victim
  • Witnesses to the incident(s) and how to reach those witnesses
  • Your name and phone number

Here is a link to inquire about training offered by the CAC:

To report suspected or disclosed abuse, call 1-877-54-ABUSE (22873) or visit the TN Department of Children's Services reporting portal online.

Safe Exit