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Spot and Report Abuse

Anyone can report abuse.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please contact the Michigan Statewide Centralized Intake Hotline toll free at 1.855.444.3911, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When making a report of suspected abuse or neglect:

1. Be specific. Tell exactly what happened and when. Be sure to record all injuries or incidents you have observed, including dates and time of day. Keep this information secured.

2. Give agency personnel any information you have about the relationship between the child and the suspected abuser. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name, age and address of the child
  • Brief description of the child
  • Current injuries, medical problems or behavioral problems
  • Parents’ names and names of siblings in the home (if you have this information)

Reports should be made as soon as possible—no later than 48 hours before bruises and marks start to fade. It is important for the investigators to be able to see the physical signs of the suspected abuse. If you have any doubts about whether or not what you have observed stems from abuse or neglect, call the hotline. They can advise you on whether the signs you have noticed are abuse. Your report is confidential and is not subject to public release under the Open Records Act. Your identity will be kept confidential.

Mandated Reporters. The Michigan Child Protection Law requires certain persons to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Find out who they are how they must proceed.

Indicators of Child Abuse or Neglect

Determining when to report suspected child abuse or neglect may be difficult. A bruise on a toddler’s forehead may be the result of learning to walk or the result of abuse. Below are some of the commonly accepted physical and behavioral indicators of abuse and/or neglect. Please note that the physical and behavioral indicators listed are not the only indicators of child abuse and neglect and if present, do not always mean a child is being abused or neglected.

Physical Neglect – Physical Indicators

  1. Unattended medical needs
  2. Lack of supervision
  3. Regular signs of hunger, inappropriate dress, poor hygiene
  4. Distended stomach, emaciated
  5. Significant weight change

Physical Neglect – Behavioral Indicators

  1. Regularly displays fatigue or listlessness, falls asleep in class
  2. Steals/hoards food, begs from classmates
  3. Reports that no caretaker is at home
  4. Frequently absent or tardy
  5. School dropout (adolescents)

Physical Abuse – Physical Indicators

  1. Unexplained bruises (in various stages of healing), welts, loop marks
  2. Adult/human bite marks
  3. Bald spots or missing clumps of hair
  4. Unexplained burns/scalds
  5. Unexplained fractures, skin lacerations/punctures or abrasions
  6. Swollen lips/chipped teeth
  7. Linear/parallel marks on cheeks and temple area
  8. Crescent-shaped bruising
  9. Puncture wounds
  10. Bruising behind the ears

Physical Abuse – Behavioral Indicators

  1. Self-destructive/self-mutilation
  2. Withdrawn and/or aggressive-behavior extremes
  3. Uncomfortable/skittish with physical contact
  4. Arrives at school late or stays late as if afraid to be at home
  5. Chronic runaway (adolescents)
  6. Complains of soreness or moves uncomfortably
  7. Wears clothing inappropriate to weather, to cover body
  8. Lack of impulse control (e.g., inappropriate outbursts)

Sexual Abuse – Physical Indicators

  1. Pain or itching in genital area
  2. Bruises or bleeding in genital area
  3. Venereal disease
  4. Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  5. Extreme or sudden weight change
  6. Pregnancy under 12 years of age

Sexual Abuse – Behavioral Indicators

  1. Withdrawal, chronic depression
  2. Sexual behaviors or references that are unusual for the child’s age
  3. Seductive or promiscuous behavior
  4. Poor self-esteem, self-devaluation, lack of confidence
  5. Suicide attempts (especially adolescents)
  6. Hysteria, lack of emotional control
  7. Habit disorders (sucking, rocking)

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