Tennessee Law & Abuse
According to Tennessee law, ALL adults (anyone 18 or older) are required to report known or suspected cases of child abuse. If you observe abuse, a child tells you that they have been abused, or if you have reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child is being abused, you are required to make a report to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) immediately. You may also make a report to law enforcement. Failure to report is a misdemeanor offense which carries a sentence of up to three months imprisonment, a fine of up to $50, or both.
If you suspect additional abuse after an initial report is made, report that as well. If you are unsure whether or not you have reasonable suspicion, go ahead and make the report. Do not attempt to conduct your own investigation - you are required to report, not investigate.
You are protected by the State of Tennessee in terms of confidentiality and liability. Reporters who act in good faith are immune from civil or criminal charges.
How to report:
- In the case of emergency call 9-1-1
- Call the child abuse hotline: 877-237-0004
- Report securely online - Child Abuse Referral
For more information on reporting abuse in Tennessee, please visit CHILD ABUSE REPORTING