How to Identify & Report Child Abuse

Reporting Child Abuse

If you believe a child is being abused or maltreated, you can help by making a call to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you call the hotline, you will be connected with a child abuse expert who will walk you through the process of reporting.

If you believe that a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.

NYS Statewide Toll Free Hotline: 1-800-342-3720

Mandated Reporter Hotline: 1-800-635-1522

For deaf or hard of hearing, call TDD/TTY at: 1-800-638-5163
or have your Video Relay System provider call: 1-800-342-3720

To report an incident of online child exploitation, use the CyberTipline.

Human Trafficking: Dutchess County Human Trafficking Resource Guide

Know the Signs of Abuse & Neglect

To end child abuse, it is important to know what abuse and neglect may look like. The signs are not always so obvious. Below are just some of the red flags we can use to identify child abuse.

Physical Abuse
  • Frequent unexplained burns, bruises, welts or cuts
  • Child is always “on alert” as if waiting for something bad to happen
  • Shies away from physical contact
  • Flinches at sudden movements
  • Afraid to go home
  • Inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries (ex. long shirts on hot days)
Emotional Abuse
  • Delayed or inappropriate emotional development
  • Loss of self-confidence or self-esteem
  • Social withdrawal or a loss of interest or enthusiasm
  • Depression
  • Avoidance of certain situations
  • Desperately seeks affection
  • Loss of interest in school/poor school performance
  • Loss of previously acquired developmental skills/regressive behavior
  • Fearful, anxious about doing something wrong
  • Insomnia, nightmares, or sleeping problems
  • Phobias
  • Shows extremes in behavior (overly compliant, demanding, passive, aggressive)
Neglect Signs
  • Poor growth or weight gain/malnutrition
  • Poor hygiene (unbathed, body odor, unwashed hair)
  • Lack of clothing or supplies to meet physical needs
  • Taking food or money without permission
  • Hiding food for later
  • Poor school attendance
  • Lack of appropriate attention for medical, dental or psychological problems
Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual behavior or knowledge that’s inappropriate for the child’s age
  • Pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection
  • Blood in child’s underwear
  • Bed wetting
  • Inappropriate sexual contact with other children
  • Make strong efforts to avoid a specific person without obvious reason
  • Not wanting to change clothes in front of others
  • Not want to participate in physical activities
  • Having trouble walking or sitting
  • Try to run away from home
  • Statements that they have been sexually abused

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