The pervasive number of child abuse cases in the Rio Grande Valley is devastating and tragic. It is terrifying to think that a child you know maybe a victim of mistreatment, like abuse or negligence. 

Abuse can go unnoticed, however, there are warnings signs the community can inform themselves about to help prevent child abuse. The children of the Rio Grande Valley need your help in keeping them out of harm’s way; recognizing abuse is crucial to keeping our kids safe.  

One of the most powerful actions is acknowledging the abuse and reporting it. Although it can be an uncomfortable situation, we implore you to take the initiative to report any child abuse immediately. 

How To Report Child Abuse?

If you believe a child is in grave danger, you can call 911. 

Anyone can report child abuse, and if you believe that a child is a victim, it is of the utmost importance to report. If the victim is not in immediate danger, you can report the abuse to the Child Protective Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. This hotline is available at all hours, every day. 

By calling the Childhelp National Abuse Hotline, crisis counselors can intervene with the crisis, and offer other services to help children in need of safety. You can call or text Childhelp 24/7 at 1-800-4-A-CHILD. 

The following is a general overview of important red flags that may indicate a child is being abused:

  • Signs of aggressive physical contact such as bruising or burn marks
  • A series injury that required medical attention, like a broken bone
  • Children who are often left unsupervised
  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in grades
  • Sudden seclusion from friends and social events

What Should Be Included in the Report?

If you have witnessed or noticed signs of child abuse, the best thing to do is report it. Dealing with a sensitive situation like this can make you feel uneasy and overwhelmed, but by providing important information you can make a real difference and rescue a child from mistreatment. 

When reporting child abuse, it is essential you impart your observation of the abuse with 100% honesty, and include every detail you recall. CPS and authorities will be more effective if they are able to obtain as much detailed information as possible. 

A few details you should report are:

  • The whereabouts of the victim
  • Phone numbers associated with the child
  • The victim’s age
  • Any wounds or injuries 
  • Observed changes in emotion or behavioral problem 
  • Insight from other children in the household

To aid in saving a child who is a victim of abuse, make your report detailed and as accurate as possible. You should not let the parents or guardians of the child know about the report as this can cause damage and may lead to the child being in danger. 

Children’s Advocacy Center Needs Your Help With Keeping the Children of Our Communities Safe

Reporting child abuse is exceptionally impactful in keeping children safe. When you report child abuse, you are assisting in the fight against child abuse and offenders. If you want to help the fight, you can also consider donating money or time to help the children of the Rio Grande Valley. 

Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo and Starr Counties has been helping victims of child abuse since 2001. We implore the citizens of our community to learn how to identify child abuse, and where to report it.