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:
• 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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GJ5KW77.
To report suspected or disclosed abuse, call 1-877-54-ABUSE (22873) or visit the TN Department of Children's Services reporting portal online.