How to Report Child Abuse

Tennessee law requires all persons must report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. To report child abuse in Tennessee, call the Department of Children’s Services’ Central Intake at 1-877-237-0004.  If you live outside of Tennessee, you can call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4ACHILD (800-422-4453). Dial 911 if a child is in immediate danger.

When you make a report to the Department of Children’s Services, they will ask you a series of questions.  It is okay if you do not know all the answers- tell them as much as you know.  It is their job to work with local law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation.

For a full list of the warning signs of child abuse and neglect, click here (English) or click here (Spanish).

Remember these do's and don’ts if a child tells you they were abused:

What to Do?

  • Remain calm
  • Believe the child
  • Allow the child to talk
  • Show interest and concern
  • Reassure and support the child
  • Take action. It could save a child's life

What Not to Do?

  • Panic or overreact
  • Press the child to talk
  • Promise anything you can't control
  • Confront the offender
  • Blame or minimze the child's feelings
  • Overwhelm the child with questions.

This project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee.