Reporting Child Abuse

What is Child Abuse?

Under Alabama law, it is “harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare which can occur through non-accidental physical or mental injury; sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse; sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation.”

Any individual concerned for a child can report child abuse or neglect. If you suspect a child under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected, or is at risk for abuse or neglect, you should make a report to the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).

Who should i call? 

Here is the link to DHR offices in Alabama.  Please call the county the child is residing in to make the report. https://dhr.alabama.gov/county-office-contact/

Try to have the following infrormiaton available when making a report.

  • Demographic information
  • Type of abuse or neglect suspected
  • Is the child/adult in imminent danger?
  • Location of the child/adult and caregivers
  • Is there a protective caregiver present?
  • Does the alleged perpetrator have access to the child/adult?
  • General functioning of child/adult and caregivers
  • Any safety threats for first responders

Mandated reporting:

Who are Mandatory Reporters in Alabama? Any person whose profession brings them in contact with children on a daily basis is legally obligated to report signs of suspected child abuse or neglect.

 Mandatory Reporters are:

  • Employees at hospitals, clinics, & sanitariums
  • Social Workers
  • Child Care Employees
  • Clergy
  • School Teachers & Officials
  • Public and Private K-12 employees
  • Employees of public and private insitutions of postsecondary and higher education
  • Physical Therapists • Dentists • Peace Officers • Law Enforcement
  • Mental Health Proffessionals
  • Pharmicists
  • Nurses 
  • Doctors, Physicians, Surgeons, & Medical Examiners
  • Podiatrists, Chiropractors, Optometrists, Osteopaths, & Coroners

What is Imminent Danger?

Imminent danger is defined as an emergency situation in which the welfare or life of the child is threatened. Such an emergency situation exists when there is reasonable cause to believe that any of the following conditions threaten the health or life of any child in the home:

  • Non accidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, sibling, babysitter or other caretaker which can include intentionally inflicted major bodily damage such as broken bones, major burns or lacerations or bodily beatings. This condition also includes the medical diagnosis of battered child syndrome which is a combination of physical and other signs indicating a pattern of abuse; or
  • Sexually abused or sexually exploited; or
  • Nutritional deprivation; or
  • Abandonment by the parents, guardian or custodian; or
  • Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease; or
  • Substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian or custodian; or
  • Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian or custodian; or
  • The parent, guardian or custodian’s abuse of alcohol, or drugs or other controlled substance has impaired his or her parenting skills to a degree as to pose an imminent risk to a child’s health or safety.

For more infoamtion on abuse, neglect or mandatory reporting please visit the DHR website at https://dhr.alabama.gov/.