HOW TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE
By law, all adults in Texas are required to make a report if they suspect or witness child abuse. Child abuse may be reported to a toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or online at www.txabusehotline.org.
If you feel your situation is a life-threatening emergency, dial 911 or contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.
If you need to report child abuse in a different state, please call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.
If you are looking for a children’s advocacy center in another part of Texas, visit Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas for a complete list. The National Children’s Alliance maintains a list of Children’s Advocacy Centers across the United States.
Behavioral Indicators of Physical or Sexual Abuse
- Drop in school performance or sudden non-participation in school activities
- Skipping school, running away from home
- Arriving early to school and staying late
- Drug use other than experimental
- Feelings of low self-worth
- Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, sudden change in appetite
- Sleep disorders – insomnia or nightmares
- Regressive behaviors – bedwetting, wetting pants, nail biting, excessive crying, clinginess
- Sudden onset of fear of adults or places that were not feared before
- Suicide attempts (especially among adolescents)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Delinquent behavior
- Overly aggressive, withdrawn, secretive, depressed, compliant, anxious
- Age-inappropriate sexual knowledge*
- Promiscuous/sexually provocative (in adolescents) or otherwise acting out sexually*
- Fear of bathrooms and showers*
- Frequent and overt self-stimulation*
- Compulsion to cleanliness – feeling dirty, wanting to wash all the time*
Physical Indicators of Sexual Abuse
- Vaginal or penile discharge
- Genital or anal bleeding or bruising
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Genital or oral sores
- Frequent urinary tract infections (uti’s)
- Sore throats
- Unexplained genital injuries
- Torn or stained clothing
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
- Foreign bodies in genital or rectal area
- Physical Indicators of Physical Abuse
- Skin or bone injuries in various stages of healing
- Burns with unusual patterns – Cigarette burns
- Scalded feet or buttocks• Head injuries/skull fractures
- Internal injuries – rupture of stomach, liver, etc.
- Human bites
- Injuries to eyes-retinal hemorrhages, black eyes, detached retinas
- Injuries to ears-bruising, sudden hearing loss
- Injuries to mouth-chipped or missing teeth, oral trauma from forced feeding
- Intentional poisoning
Indicators of Neglect
- Failure to thrive
- Child is cared for by underage sibling
- Exposure to domestic violence
- Keeping child out of school
- Child left unattended for long periods of time
- Child is improperly dressed for weather
- Exposure to dangerous items or substance – guns, poison, etc.
- Failure to seek medical attention
- Failure to provide clothing, food, shelter.