Child abuse and neglect is a sad fact of life that readers of this newspaper are reminded of almost daily. There are cruel and unthinking people in our own community who put children at grave risk of injury as a result of neglect or mistreatment.
State officials investigate more than 60,000 reports of child abuse annually. This mistreatment includes physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse or psychological harm. Telltale signs of child abuse often include malnutrition, poor hygiene and unexplained bruises.
It is the responsibility of every Tennessean to report such abuse when they witness it. In fact, state law requires anyone with suspicions of child abuse to report it immediately to the state Department of Children’s Services or to local law enforcement officials.
Remaining silent is never an option. It is your duty to alert law enforcement authorities and child welfare officials to possible cases of abuse or neglect, and it is their duty to investigate these cases thoroughly.
You can report child abuse any time of the day or night by calling Tennessee’s child abuse hotline at 1-877-237-0004.