“Whenever any person…has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to incest, molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or neglect, or who observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in (this abuse)…he shall immediately notify the nearest peace officer, law enforcement agency, or office of the division (Division of Child and Family Services-Department of Social Services, Protective Services).” (Utah State Code §62A-4-501)
“Reason to believe” does not mean that you must prove a child is being abused or neglected. It is the role of the investigators (law enforcement officer or Protective Service worker) to investigate and establish proof. The investigation should be conducted in a confidential and sensitive manner.
Reporting Child Abuse
To report child abuse please call the local Police Department or Sheriff’s Office with jurisdiction over the area where the abuse has occurred, or call the Division of Child and Family Services hotline: 1-855-323-3237. Contact information for local law enforcement agencies can be found at the bottom of this page.
What Information Should I Have?
When you call to report child abuse it is important that you are able to give the authorities as much information as possible. It is helpful if you have information ready with names and dates of birth of the parties involved and their addresses and phone numbers. The most critical piece of information is the address where the crime occurred, which is not necessarily where the child lives. Without an address the intake worker will not be able to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. It is also important to be as calm as possible when making the phone call. Referents may remain anonymous if they wish.
After the Report?
Child protective services prioritize their cases based on the immediate level of danger to the child. A child in immediate danger such as in the case where the abuse was very recent and the perpetrator lives in the child’s home is given much higher priority then a case that involves a child who was abused 2 years ago, does not have contact with the alleged perpetrator, and is just deciding to report now. Based on the priority level given to the case and case work load of each worker or detective it may take up to a week or more before anything happens with the case. Generally caseworkers have to go out and make what’s called an official “face to face” contact with the child to determine their safety level. They will go out to the child’s home and introduce them selves and will sometimes set up an appointment to interview the child at the Children’s Justice Center. If the report is made to law enforcement first instead of child protective services, a responding officer may come out directly to the child’s home and take a preliminary report and then refer the case to a detective who will contact child protective services and the parents of the child. If the child’s parents are the alleged perpetrators, the child may be interviewed at school, or another location away from the parents. Cases involving children in immediate danger are labeled as red tags and are generally given the highest priority. Contact is usually made within an hour of the report based on the allegation.
- Child Find (24-hour) 1-800-426-5678
- Child Protective Services (24 hours) 1-855-323-3237 or [email protected]
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (24-hour) 1-800-843-5678
- National Child Abuse Hotline (Child Help USA, 24-hour) 1-800-422-4453
- Utah Poison Control Center 1-800-456-7707
Local Law Enforcement Agencies
If this is an emergency please dial 9-1-1.