Did you know that every single person in Oklahoma, including you and me, are legally obligated to make a report if a child under the age of 18 is suspected to be a victim of abuse or neglect? In fact, under Oklahoma’s Title 10A, Section 1-2-101, it is a misdemeanor offense for anyone who fails to report any suspected child abuse or neglect. However, any person who makes a report of suspected child abuse or neglect is in “good faith” and is clear from civil and criminal liability. You don’t need to prove the abuse when making a report, the report itself is a request for an investigation to gather more information and ensure the child’s safety. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you are mandated to call the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511. If the child is in imminent danger, call 911.
There are few simple ways that parents and caregivers can support each other during times of stress. Here’s how you can help if a parent/caregiver you know is going through a difficult moment:
- Be kind and supportive
- Connect – think about how you would want to be treated if you were in a similar situation
- Offer your assistance and help with some of their daily tasks such as picking up a few items from the grocery store for them.
If you would like to know what else you can do to help prevent child abuse, contact the Family Support & Prevention Services at fsps.health.ok.gov or 405-271-7611.