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Reporting Child Abuse and Other Child Safety Concerns

  • Emergency - Call 911
  • Vanderbilt Office of Risk and Insurance Management, Protection of Minors 615-936-5935 or online occurrence reporting
  • Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS) Hotline 877-237-0004 
  • Vanderbilt University Compliance Reporting Hotline 844-814-5935 or online

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Every member of the University community (not limited to individuals who interact with Minors) is required by law to report known or suspected instances of the abuse or neglect of Minors. Members making a report in good faith will be protected from criminal and civil liability for making the report. Additional policy requirements include the internal reporting of abuse or maltreatment of or inappropriate interactions with (including conduct code violations) a Minor in a Vanderbilt program or at an event on campus.  It is important to understand that every member is required to report any type of suspected  child abuse, neglect or inadequate care including physical and sexual abuse. This policy includes disclosures of abuse which may or may not involve Vanderbilt personnel.

Please note: a "Minor" in Tennessee is a child under the age of 18 years.

A.    Reporting Child Abuse and/or Neglect:

Tennessee Code Annotated 37-1-403(a)(1) requires all persons to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.  “Any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect or that, on the basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect.”

When abuse or neglect of a Minor is suspected, two reports, one external and one internal, must be made:

External Report 

Tennessee law requires every person to make a report when they suspect sexual or physical abuse or neglect of a Minor. Failure to report is a Class A misdemeanor. The required report may be made to the State of Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline at 877-237-0004, online at https://apps.tn.gov/carat/ or to a Tennessee sheriff’s office or police department, including VUPD at 615-322-2745. If the situation is a life threatening emergency, contact 911.

Internal Report

In addition to an external report, every member of the University community has a further obligation to report known or suspected abuse, neglect, maltreatment, exploitation, or inappropriate interactions with (including conduct code violations) a Minor on campus or in a Vanderbilt program immediately to Vanderbilt University. Internal reporting steps include:

  • Immediately contact the program supervisor (where appropriate) and the Office of Risk and Insurance Management (ORIM), Protection of Minors Director at 615-936-5935.
  • Program supervisors receiving any report of concern of abuse to a Minor must report the concern to the ORIM, Protection of Minors Director at 615-936-5935. This includes if the program supervisor has already made a referral to the Department of Children’s Service or Law Enforcement as outlined in the external reporting procedure above.
  • Concerns may also be reported to the occurrence reporting system.  
  • The University compliance hotline is accessed by calling 844-814-5935 or visiting the Compliance website.  

B. Other Concerns Regarding Minors

 All concerns affecting the safety and well-being of a Minor on campus and/or participating in a Vanderbilt Program should be reported via the internal methods described above.

Recommended Guidelines for Reporting:

  • If you suspect, witness, or have knowledge of abuse occurring to a minor child (under 18), make a report.
  • If I tell my supervisor, do I still have to complete an external report of child abuse? Yes, make a report if you have concerns a child is being abused; confirm a report has been made. 
  • If you see or suspect misconduct or red flag behavior, report the behavior or concerns you have. Early intervention in suspicious behavior can stop abuse. The Office of Risk and Insurance Management is a resource in answering any "What happens next?" questions after an internal or external report is made.
  • Allow the investigation to acquire the details, report what you know.
  • If you complete a report to DCS, you will receive a report number. Please include that number on any internal reporting. 
  • If the child is in immediate harm, report using 911.
  • For more on Tennessee Child Abuse Reporting and the response of the Dept. of Children’s Service, visit the Child Safety page of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services

Working or participating in activities outside Tennessee? Complete an internal report and follow the laws of the state. 

State by State child abuse reporting information (provided by the Child Welfare Information Gateway) 

We strengthen our community by working together to be the voice that protects children from abuse. Please contact protectionofminors@vanderbilt.edu  or 615-343-6601 if you have any general questions.