Recognizing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence Toolkit

2.2 Obligation to Report

woman making phone call

As adults, it is our responsibility to report what we witness, are told about, or suspect. It is not our responsibility to investigate. Situations may cover more than one area of concern, and we may need to make several reports. For example, a student posts intimate pictures of their ex online. Depending on the content of the image and post, it could be considered sexual harassment, child abuse, human trafficking, and a Title IX concern. It is always best to act on the side of caution and report it, even if we are hesitant or unsure.

If it is an emergency or a child is in imminent danger, call 911 or law enforcement immediately.

Never assume that:

  • Someone else has or will report it.
  • It is not our responsibility to report.
  • It is not a big deal.
  • We should mind our own business.
  • We should not report it if we are not sure what happened, or if we did not witness it.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

As a professional, if we suspect any abuse or neglect of a child, we are required by Texas law to immediately alert the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (1-800-252-5400) or If the child is in imminent danger, notify local law enforcement first. It is a crime (Texas Family Code, Section 261.109) to fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Professionals, including educators and other school employees, may not delegate or rely on someone else to make the report (Texas Family Code, Section 261.101). Teachers and school employees are not required by law to report to a peer, colleague, or supervisor before reporting to TDFPS.

Children’s Advocacy Centers™ of Texas created a guide for Texas school employees on reporting suspected child abuse and neglect.