REPORTING ABUSE & NEGLECT
What to know and what to do
If a child you know is at risk of abuse or neglect, report your concerns to the State of New Jersey. All residents of New Jersey are mandated reporters.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content on this page has been created based on the personal experiences of various CAANJ members and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. State policies are constantly changing and what happens or works in one situation may not work or hold true in another. Moreover, any action you take may have unintended consequences not explained here. Continuing to read this page constitutes a waiver of any claims against Miriam's Heart or CAANJ with respect to any information shared.
Some thoughts and tips about reporting abuse and neglect that may prove helpful:
Try to call promptly after an incident has occurred or something extremely concerning is observed. The longer you delay the less seriously the Division may take your report, the harder it may be for them to verify the truth of what you have to say, and the fuzzier your recollection of the events may become.
Be persistent in waiting to speak with someone. It may take quite a while to get through.
Do your best to keep your communication direct and clear. Be prepared to provide information like the time(s), date(s), and location(s) where concerning observations were made or information was disclosed to you. Strongly consider providing the Division with the names of and contact information for others who also may have heard or witnessed the events in question or otherwise been aware of the concerns; without help from you they may have difficulty in locating these individuals (or may not make it a priority).
If you have pictures, videos, documents or other proof of abuse or neglect, be sure to share this information with the hotline screener. Make backups so that you have copies to provide to the Division and copies to keep for your own records.
Consider preparing a detailed audio or written statement about what gave you reason to be concerned, so that you can refresh your recollection if questions are asked of you at a later time.
Making a report to the Division is not an activity to undertake lightly. However, it can be essential to protecting a child from a situation they don't deserve to be in. Thank you for taking the time to read these thoughts, and be sure to click the link below to learn more about what you can do after calling.