Reporting your concerns is the law.
Everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter.
That means if you have concerns about the safety or well-being of a child, you are legally required to call the Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline to report them: 1-877-237-0004. This 24-hour reporting line is run by the Department of Children’s Services (DCS).
You do not have to have evidence, or to be certain something is happening — you must simply have a concern. Failure to report abuse is a violation of the law and a Class A misdemeanor. The reporter has the right to remain confidential and anonymous.
Non-emergency reports to DCS can be made here.
Tennessee child sexual abuse laws
Reporting known or suspected child sexual abuse
Tennessee Code Ann. § 37-1-605
Any person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused shall report such knowledge or suspicion immediately to:
- Department of Children’s Services
- Local Law Enforcement
- Juvenile Court
Confidentiality of reports
Tennessee Code Ann. § 37-1-409
The identity of the reporter is confidential. The name of the person reporting child abuse shall not be released to anyone other than child protection team members (Department of Children’s Services, district attorney and law enforcement) or in the event a judge determines this information is necessary in a court proceeding.
Immunity from civil or criminal liability
Tennessee Code Ann. § 37-1-613
Any person making a report of child sexual abuse in good faith will be immune from any civil or criminal liability.