Know the facts of child abuse
- Cook Children's CARE Team treated 1,520 child abuse victims in 2015.
- 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
- Tarrant County ranks No. 2 in the state for child abuse cases. There were 6,213 in 2015.
- In nearly 90% of child abuse cases in Texas, the child is abused by someone they know.
- The No. 1 cause of child fatalities is neglect.
Know the types of child abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
Know the signs of child abuse
There are many warning signs for child abuse. Some of the most common signs include:
- Obvious malnutrition and/or begs for or steals food.
- Untreated illnesses or medical needs
- Frequent injuries and the child cannot explain the causes.
- Injuries have an obvious pattern, such as marks from a hand or belt.
- Wears clothes that cover most of the body, even when it's hot outside.
- Fear of going home or seeing parent
- Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor, etc.)
- Engages in sexually suggestive behavior or has knowledge of sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age.
- Shows extremes in behaviors such as extremely eager to please or extremely demanding.
- Suicide attempts.
Bruising on the torso, ears, neck, or anywhere on an infant 4 months old or younger should always be questioned.
Know when to report child abuse
There are 3 reasons we need to react to abuse.
- A child discloses it to us.
- We discover it ourselves.
- We have reason to suspect it.
Anytime you have a suspicion of abuse, you should call. Do not wait. It is not your job to investigate the situation first. By delaying your report, you could be putting that child in more danger and possibly at risk for death.
Know how to report child abuse
Call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can choose to remain anonymous.
You may also make a report online or call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 if:
- You believe your situation requires action in less than 24 hours.
- You prefer to remain anonymous.
- You have insufficient data to complete the required information on the report.
- You do not want an e-mail to confirm your report.
What happens when I make a report?
You will be asked to give as much information as possible about the suspected abuse and the child's current situation. This could include:
- Name, age, and address of the child
- Your name and contact information
- Brief description of the situation and the child or vulnerable adult
- Current injuries, medical problems, or behavioral problems
- Parents' names and names of siblings in the home
Child Protective Services (CPS) will investigate the situation and determine what next steps need to be taken.
Based on the perceived severity of the situation, CPS has between 24 and 72 hours to physically lay eyes on the child to begin the assessment of the situation.
The family will not be given your name.
What if I'm wrong?
If the suspected abuse turns out to be nothing, the person making the report will not be punished in any way.
The question you should consider is: “What if I’m right?” Isn’t that child’s life worth it?