Why Child Abuse Reports Plummet During the Summer


We often see a steep drop in the number of calls to The Tennessee Department of Childrens Services (DCS) Child Abuse Hotline during the summer, but not because there are fewer instances of abuse occurring. The drop in the number of reports of child abuse and neglect has a direct correlation to schools being out of session for summer break. School staff members make up the largest number of reporters of child abuse and neglect. Teachers see students five days a week in many cases and may be more apt to notice changes in attendance, behavior, and physical wellbeing. Additionally, most teachers are trained in recognizing the signs of child abuse and how to report it.

During the summer months, it’s especially important for members of the public to act if something doesn’t seem right involving a child. Every adult in Tennessee is considered a mandated reporter. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you are required by law to make a report to DCS’s hotline by calling 877-237-0004 or submitting the report online. Your information will remain strictly confidential.

The Child Abuse Hotline is staffed 24/7. Each call taker has received specialized training in child safety and risk assessment, as well as interviewing and call center protocols.

What to expect when making a report to the Child Abuse Hotline:

  • Trained case managers will guide Hotline callers through a series of questions.
  • Callers do not have to know all the details of the alleged abuse or neglect.
  • Hotline case managers will use the information provided to determine the severity of the situation and how best to intervene.

To learn more, including how to identify the signs of child abuse and neglect, click here .

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