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Who Should report abuse?

Intervention has to take place to protect children, to get them to a place of healing, and to restore their childhood.

The Law:

Texas Family Code (261.101) states that a person having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by the abuse or neglect must report immediately.
Failure to report is punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $2,000.
Texas Family Code, Chapter 34, 261.101.

Who Must Report:

Any person having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect must report IMMEDIATELY. Professionals shall make a report within 48 hours of the initial suspicion of abuse. A professional may not delegate or rely on another person to make the report.

Legal Protection:

The identity of an individual making a report under this chapter is confidential and my be disclosed only on the order of a court or to a law enforcement officer for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation of the report.
You are immune from civil or criminal liability as long as the report is made in “good faith” and “without malice”. “Good Faith” means that you took reasonable steps to learn the facts. “Without Malice” means that you did not intend to injure or violate the rights of another person.

Failure To Report:

Class B Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

What to Report:

  • Child’s Name & Age
  • Address &/or School
  • Parent’s Name & Address
  • Any Statements Made by Child
  • Physical Indicators Observed
  • Behavioral Indicators Observed
  • Person Suspected of Abuse or Neglect
  • Relationship to Child
  • *Fill in what you know

What should I do as a parent?


KNOW your children’s friends and their families, caregivers, youth group leaders, teachers or any person spending time alone with your children.


TEACH your child names for their private parts, and that they have the right to say NO. Never make your child submit to physical contact if they do not want to.


LISTEN when your child tells you that he or she does not want to be with or go with someone else.


UNDERSTAND that no one should want to be with your child more than you. When someone is showing your child too much attention, ask yourself why. Listen to your intuition.


EXPLAIN to your child who a “someone” is, when you instruct them to tell you if “someone” looks at or touches their private places.


USE the word surprise instead of secret with your children. Teach them to tell you when any adult asks them to keep a “secret”.


AVOID putting your child’s first name on clothing or school books. This puts your child on a first name basis with anyone they may come in contact with.


Have a CODE word that only you and your children know to be used in an emergency.


TELL your children that when away from home, if they feel scared or uncomfortable, they have the right to use the telephone without anyone’s permission.


BELIEVE your children if they say they have been abused. Encourage them to ask questions if they are confused or not sure if another’s behavior is acceptable or not.

Types of abuse

Emotional Abuse

Emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning.

Physical Abuse

Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child. The law excludes physical punishment that does not result in injury.

Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a physical violation of a child’s body through any sort of sexual contact or a psychological violation of a child’s personal space through verbal or visual behavior.


Leaving of a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child. The law excludes failure to provide due to financial need, unless relief has been offered and refused.

Report Child Abuse To:

Local Law Enforcement
Statewide Hotline: 1-800-252-5400

How do I talk to my child about Child Abuse?

If a child you know hints, even in a vague way, that abuse has occurred, listen to them. Stay calm. Tell them that you would like to help them. Children often report abuse in small bits to test your reaction see how you will react and determine your trustworthiness.

  • Be patient, calm, and supportive
  • If you notice a child is acting out, tell the child you believe them
  • Find out how the child feels physically
  • Be aware of your verbal and non-verbals
  • Do not question the child extensively
  • Do not introduce or suggest
  • Do not take the law into your own hands
  • Be supportive of the child