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April is a big month for raising awareness for the voiceless. This year, Sexual Assault Awareness Day is on the 4th, and Child Abuse Awareness’ “Go Blue Day” is on the 7th. While anyone can share a post or wear a blue shirt one day out of the year, it takes being educated to take action that could save someone’s life. There are many resources to keep you on the most up-to-date ways to spot and report abuse; the key, however, is knowing what kind of abuse you’d be reporting should the need arise. 

Identifying Abuse

*as defined by  the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)*


Sexual Abuse

indecency, assault, or exploitation of children in a sexual manner

physical symptoms of STDs, difficulty sitting or walking, fear of being alone with adults, knowledge or comments of sexual nature beyond what is age-appropriate 

Physcial Abuse

intentional and unintentional harm or threats committed against the child

frequent injuries, lack of reaction to pain, avoidance of home

Emotional Abuse

mental harm caused by nonphysical punishment such as belittlement or rejection

over-compliance or low self-esteem, developmental lagging, significant behavioral or physical changes, dismissive caregiver


 lack of provision of physical needs and/or medical care, or abandoning a child 

malnourishment, stealing food, unaddressed needs for personal hygiene or medical care

How to Report

*as advised by  the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)*

Under state law, anyone who suspects abuse or neglect must report it directly to DFPS. This requirement overrides any administrative policy in a given place of employment because it is a civil obligation. Anyone who witnesses an injury or has suspicion should report it.

Make a Call

The hotline is for urgent, potentially life-threatening cases of suspected abuse. When calling, you will be asked to include information about yourself, such as where you work, how to contact you, and every detail you can remember about the child you are calling about. From physical descriptions of the observed signs to information regarding the child’s circumstances.

The Texas Abuse Hotline is: 1-800-252-5400

Submit a Form

The online form is for non-urgent cases in which the child’s life is not in immediate danger. This type of reporting allows for more time to gather necessary information, notes, and records regarding the child to answer the following questions in detail: What happened? Who abused or neglected the child? What is the role of the parent/guardian? What else is happening in the family?

The Texas Abuse Hotline Website:

Why Report?

Signs of abuse will not always be as evident as you expect. There is no definitive guide to follow because many signs on their own do not equal abuse or neglect, but rather a combination of them that warrant a potential investigation. However, no matter the uncertainty, it is always best to err on the side of caution for the sake of a child’s safety if you suspect abuse of any kind by reporting it. Your report could save the life of a child who cannot escape their circumstances. 

written by: Rylee B.

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