How and When to Report Child Abuse/Neglect
In New Jersey, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse should immediately report this information to the State Central Registry (SCR). If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 as well as 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873). A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously.
What information will I be asked to provide to the hotline screener?
SCR screeners are trained caseworkers who know how to respond to reports of child abuse/neglect. Whenever possible, a caller should provide all of the following information:
- Who: The child and parent/caregiver's name, age and address and the name of the alleged perpetrator and that person's relationship to the child.
- What: Type and frequency of alleged abuse/neglect, current or previous injuries to the child and what caused you to become concerned.
- When: When the alleged abuse/neglect occurred and when you learned of it.
- Where: Where the incident occurred, where the child is now and whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child.
- How: How urgent the need is for intervention and whether there is a likelihood of imminent danger for the child.
Do callers have immunity from civil or criminal liability?
Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action. Calls can be placed to the hotline anonymously.
Is it against the laws of New Jersey to fail to report suspected abuse/neglect?
Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person.
What happens after I make the call?
When a report indicates that a child may be at risk, an investigator from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly Youth and Family Services) will promptly investigate the allegations of child abuse and neglect.