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Child Abuse

Most mandated reporters are identified by their professions and may include school personnel, law enforcement, medical workers, and more. Find out if you’re required to report.

Every state has mandated reporting requirements, and, as a result, each state has reporting standards. Find your state’s training and requirements here.

Under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, (CAPTA), child abuse and neglect is, at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation (including sexual abuse as determined under section 111), or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

In 2018, the most recent reporting year, there were approximately 678,000 victims of child abuse and neglect in the U.S. This equates to a national rate of 9.2 victims per 1,000 children in the population.

According to the Child Maltreatment 2017 report, an estimated 1,720 children died as a result of abuse or neglect that year. That’s approximately 5 children every day who died as a result of child abuse or neglect.

Signs, symptoms, and types of child abuse or neglect can vary. You can find many of the common signs of abuse or neglect in this factsheet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway.

All states have a system to receive and respond to reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. If you suspect a child is being harmed, or has been harmed, you should report your concerns to the appropriate authorities, such as child protective services, in the state where the maltreatment is occurring. Most states have a toll-free number or you can contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. Childhelp can be reached 7 days a week, 24-hours a day, at its toll-free number: 1.800.4-A-CHILD (1.800.422.4453).

Each state is responsible for providing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, provides links to each state's definitions of child abuse and neglect.

Many states accept anonymous reports of alleged child abuse and neglect. It is important to note, however, that all states are required to preserve the confidentiality of all child maltreatment reports, except in certain limited circumstances. Confidentiality refers to protecting the information from public view, including protecting the identity of the reporter from the person suspected of abuse or neglect.

A mandated reporter is a person who is required by their state to report concerns of domestic abuse or intimate partner violence.

Who is required to report domestic abuse or domestic violence will vary depending on your state or territory. For example, California requires health care professionals to report injuries that they believe are a result of abuse, among other requirements. Learn if you’re required to report intimate partner violence in your state

Domestic abuse, also referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), is defined as behaviors used by one partner to maintain power or control over another in an intimate relationship. Types of domestic abuse include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional or verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual or reproductive coercion
  • Financial abuse
  • Digital abuse
  • Stalking

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner. Furthermore, 1 in 10 high school students has experienced physical abuse by a partner in the past year.

There are several signs that can be used to identify potential domestic abuse. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming a partner, particularly in front of others
  • Controlling household finances without discussion
  • Preventing a partner from making their own decisions
  • Intimidating a partner with a weapons

If you or a loved one is a victim of intimate partner violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can provide further resources.

It’s important to note that the domestic violence hotline is not a reporting agency. If you are a mandated reporter of domestic violence, this is not the appropriate resource for you to use. It is intended for victims and survivors.

A mandated reporter is a person required by their state to report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

The requirements to report vary by state and can include health care professionals, mental health professionals, and nursing home employees, among others. Find out if you’re required to report elder abuse.

Elder abuse is classified as intentional action, or failure to act, that causes or creates a risk of harm to an adult 60 years old or older. The most common types of elder abuse are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial abuse

1 in 10 people over the age of 60 who live at home experience elder abuse. Even more concerning, the CDC estimates that this data is lower than the actual total because many cases go unreported by elders who cannot tell police, friends, or family about the abuse.

There are many individual, relational, community, and societal factors that can put someone at risk to become a perpetrator of elder abuse. Risk factors associated with becoming a perpetrator include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnosis of mental illness
  • Abuse of alcohol
  • High financial and emotional dependence upon a vulnerable elder
  • Poor preparation for caregiving responsibilities
  • Lack of social support

Fortunately, there are many steps we can take to help prevent or stop elder abuse. These include:

  • Listen to older adults and their caregivers about the challenges they’re facing
  • Report abuse or suspected abuse
  • Learn how the signs of elder abuse differ from the normal aging process
  • Provide support to caregivers

Adult Protective Services, or APS, is a social services program provided by state and local governments throughout the U.S. serving older adults and adults with disabilities. Many states require elder abuse reports to be made to APS.

Recognize the signs of abuse.