Child abuse is when abuse or violence happens to a minor (someone under age 18). No matter who is doing it, the law protects you from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, harassment, domestic violence, and stalking.

No one has the right to hurt you. It does not matter whether that person is related to you, lives with you, or has a relationship with you.

Some people who work with youth must tell the police or child protective services if they believe a young person is being abused. Someone who is required by law to report child abuse to the police or child protection is called a mandated reporter. If a mandated reporter learns that you or someone you know is being abused or abusing a child, they must tell the police or Child Protective Services (CPS) in order to help you/that child.

The following groups are usually mandated reporters:

  • teachers and other school employees,
  • case managers at programs for pregnant and parenting minors,
  • workers at camps, youth centers, and other youth organizations,
  • social workers,
  • probation officers,
  • police officers and firefighters,
  • doctors, nurses, dentists, psychologists, and other health care workers.

Usually, these people will keep your conversations with them private. But mandated reporters must report any suspected child abuse to protect minors.

You can also report abuse to CPS yourself. Find your local child abuse hotline at


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