COMPLIANCE WITH TENNESSEE'S LAW RELATED TO THE MANDATORY REPORTING OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT
TCA 37-1-403 (a) (1) states that: "Any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect or that, on the basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect.
Possible Indicators of Abuse and Neglect:
The child has repeated injuries that are not property treated or adequately
The child begins acting in unusual ways ranging from disruptive and
aggressive to passive and withdrawn
The child acts in the role of parent toward brothers and sisters or even toward
their own parents
The child may have disturbed sleep (nightmares, bed wetting, fear of sleeping
along, needing a nightlight)
The child loses his/her appetite, overeats, or may report being hungry
There is a sudden drop in school grades or participation in activities
The child may act in stylized ways, such as sexual behavior that is not normal
for his/her age group
The child may report abusive or neglectful acts
The above signs indicate that something is wrong but do not necessarily point to abuse. However, if you notice these signs early, you may be able to prevent abuse or neglect.
The law allows this report to be made to one of the following:
A juvenile court judge having jurisdiction over the child
The Department of Children's Services, in a manner specified
by the Department, either by contacting the Department by telephone
through the centralized intake procedure, by fax, or by letter
Sheriff of the county where the child resides, or
The Chief law enforcement officer of the municipality where the child
It is important to know that it is each individual's responsibility to report any suspicion or direct knowledge of brutality, abuse or neglect. It is not required that the individual be able to prove that child abuse or neglect has occurred in order to report.