How to Report Child Abuse
To report suspected child abuse, call the 24 Hour Child Abuse Hotline:
The ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct specify
the dentists' responsibility in cases of suspected child abuse. The
section reads as follows:
1-F. CHILD ABUSE
Dentists shall be obliged to become familiar with the perioral signs
of child abuse and to report suspected cases to the proper authorities
consistent with state laws.
Rhode Island dentists are required by law to report suspected child
abuse to the Department of Youth & Families. Failure to report could
result in severe civil penalties to include misdemeanor, imprisonment
and fines. A false report of child abuse is also punishable by law and
there is no exemption of immunity from liability.
A call to the Child Abuse Hotline will initiate legal and social service
intervention which can intercept the abuse process to help the family,
prevent re-injury and even save the child's life. Dentists who report
are exempt from liability.
When reporting, be prepared to answer the following questions.
- What are your concerns? How is the child at risk? Be prepared
to describe the nature and extent of injuries, including the approximate
date of injury.
- The name, address, sex, and date of birth of the reported child.
- The name, address, and phone number of the adult who has custody
of the child.