What is Child Abuse?

In New Jersey, child abuse is legally defined as the physical, sexual or emotional harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver for the child.

Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so.

In New Jersey, ANY person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected has a legal responsibility to report it to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously. Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person and subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both.

There are a number of warning signs that may indicate that a child is being abused or neglected.

Warning Signs of Child Abuse

A child may disclose to you that they are being abused. It is very important to react appropriately.

What to do if a child discloses

To report possible child abuse, call New Jersey’s Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1 (877) NJ ABUSE (652-2873) (TTY/TDD use 1 (800) 835-5510. Outside the state of New Jersey, call (800) 422-4453. They are available and will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a child is in immediate danger, you should call 911.