Stop Child Abuse Now

Reporting Abuse

Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect. Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family -- it may even save a child's life.

All persons that work with children are mandated reporters.

The Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis counselors who have access to a large database of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, report it--and keep reporting it--until something is done. Contact child protective services (in your local phone book) or your local police department so professionals can assess the situation.

You may also call one of the following child abuse reporting numbers in your area:

District of Columbia

Toll-Free (877) 671-SAFE
Local (toll): (202) 671-7233


Toll-Free (800) 552-7096
Local (toll): (804) 786-8536


Toll-Free (800) 332-6347
Hours are 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Important Numbers

DC Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline… (202)-671-SAFE
Montgomery County… (240) 777-4417
Prince George’s County… (301) 808-5624
Arlington County… (703) 228-5100
Alexandria County… (703) 838-4444
National Child Abuse Hotline… (800) 4 A-CHILD
Advocates for Youth… (202) 419-3420
Stress Line for Families… (202) 544-5440
DC Rape Crisis Center… (202) 333-RAPE
Justice for Children… (202) 667-1160
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence… (202) 299-1181
National Center for Victims of Crime… (800) 394-2255
National Organization for Victim Assistance… (800) TRY-NOVA
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children… (800) THE-LOST

What will happen when I make a report?

Your report of possible child maltreatment will first be screened by hotline staff or a child protective service worker. If the worker feels there is enough credible information to indicate that maltreatment may have occurred or is at risk of occurring, your report will be referred to staff who will conduct an investigation.

Investigators respond within a particular time period (anywhere from a few hours to a few days), depending on the potential severity of the situation. They may speak with the child, the parents, and other people in contact with the child (such as doctors, teachers, or childcare providers). Their purpose is to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred and if it may happen again. If the investigator finds that no abuse or neglect occurred, or what happened does not meet your state’s definition of abuse or neglect, the case will be closed and the family may or may not be referred elsewhere for services. If the investigator feels the children are at risk of harm, the family may be referred to services to reduce the risk of future maltreatment. These may include mental health care, medical care, parenting skills classes, employment assistance, and concrete support such as financial or housing assistance. In rare cases where the child’s safety cannot be ensured, the child may be removed from the home.

The names of reporters are not given out to families reported for child abuse or neglect; however, sometimes by the nature of the information reported, your identity may become evident to the family. You may request to make your report anonymously, but your report may be considered more credible and can be more helpful to the child protection services if you give your name.


Your suspicion of child abuse or neglect is enough to make a report. You are not required to provide proof. Almost every state has a law to protect people who make good-faith reports of child abuse from prosecution and/or liability.