Questions and answers about reporting abuse and neglect
If you think someone is being hurt or is in danger, call 911 immediately.
Report child abuse to a local office of the Department of Human Services (DHS) or a local police department, county sheriff, county juvenile department, or Oregon State Police.
You can also call 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This toll-free number allows you to report abuse or neglect of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Q. Can anyone make a report?
All Oregon citizens are encouraged to report suspected child abuse to DHS or law enforcement. Over 25 percent of the substantiated cases of child abuse are reported by concerned citizens who are not required to report.
Q. Who must report?
According to Oregon Revised Statute 419B.010, "Any public or private official having reasonable cause to believe that any child with whom the official comes in contact has suffered abuse, or that any person with whom the official comes in contact has abused a child shall immediately report or cause a report to be made . . ." Some of those "public or private officials" include:
- Physician, including any intern or resident
- School employee
- Licensed practical nurse or registered nurse
- Employee of the Department of Human Services, Oregon Health Authority, State Commission on Children and Families, Child Care Division of the Employment Department, the Oregon Youth Authority, a county health department, a community mental health and developmental disabilities program, a county juvenile department, a licensed child-caring agency or an alcohol and drug treatment program
- Peace officer
- Member of the clergy
- Licensed clinical social worker
- Certified provider of foster care, or an employee thereof
- Naturopathic physician
- Licensed professional counselor
- Licensed marriage and family therapist
- Firefighter or emergency medical technician
- A court appointed special advocate, as defined in ORS 419A.004
- A childcare provider registered or certified under ORS 657A.030 and 657A.250 to 657A.450
- Member of the Legislative Assembly
*Psychiatrist, psychologist, clergyman, or attorney shall not be required to report information communicated to him by a person if the communication is privileged under ORS 40.225 to 40.295.
Also see: Mandatory reporting
Q. Who do I contact if I suspect child abuse?
According to ORS 419B.015, "a person making a report of child abuse shall make an oral report by telephone or otherwise to a local Child Welfare office of the Department of Human Services, to the division's designee, or to a law enforcement agency within the county where the person making the report is at the time of the contact." A law enforcement agency can be defined as a local police department, county sheriff, county juvenile department, or Oregon State Police.
- You may also contact 1-855-503-SAFE (7233) to report abuse or neglect to DHS
- You can also report child abuse to a local office of DHS or a local police department, county sheriff, county juvenile department, or Oregon State Police.
What information do I need to report?
If possible report the names and addresses of the child and parent; the child’s age; the type and extent of the abuse; and any other information that will help establish the cause of abuse or identify the child, parent and abuser if the names and addresses are unknown.
Q. When should domestic violence be reported as child abuse?
Domestic violence means a pattern of coercive behavior, which can include physical, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse that an individual uses against a past or current intimate partner to gain power and control in a relationship.
Domestic violence is present in all cultures, socio-economic classes, communities of faith, etc. Domestic violence almost always increases in intensity, severity and/or frequency. A report to DHS or law enforcement is necessary when there is reasonable cause to believe there is current domestic violence or the alleged abuser has a history of domestic violence and one of the following:
- There is reason to believe the child will or is intervening in a violent situation, placing him at risk of "substantial harm."
- The child is likely to be "harmed" during the violence (being held during violence, physically restrained from leaving, etc.).
- The alleged abuser is not allowing the adult caregiver and child access to basic needs, impacting their health or safety.
- The alleged abuser has killed, committed "substantial harm," or is making a believable threat to do so to anyone in the family, including extended family members and pets.
- The child's ability to function on a daily basis is substantially impaired by being in a constant state of fear.
If you know a child is witnessing repeated or serious domestic violence and you are unsure of the impact on the child, call and consult a CPS screener.
Q. Will my report be confidential?
The reporter's identity will remain confidential to the full extent allowable by law. If court action is initiated, the reporting person may be called as a witness or the court may order that the reporter's name be disclosed.
Q. Can I be sued if I report?
Oregon law (ORS 419B.025) provides that anyone participating in good faith in the making of a report of child abuse and who has reasonable grounds for making the report, shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed with respect to the making or content of such report.
Q. What happens after I report?
For each call CPS receives, the process begins with screening. If the information is a report of abuse that requires a CPS assessment as outlined in OAR 413-015-0210, a caseworker assesses the family situation by getting more in-depth information and determines whether a child is safe.
A case is closed when protective services are no longer needed to keep the child safe.
Q. Who do I contact for more information on child abuse and neglect?
If you need more information on child abuse and neglect, contact your local Child Welfare office of the Department of Human Services.