Child Abuse

Report Child Abuse or Neglect

Learn what to do if you know or suspect a child is being abused or neglected. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

How to Report

All reports of suspected child abuse or neglect must be phoned in to DCF. Please call immediately if you know of, or suspect, an incident of child abuse or neglect.  During regular business hours (8:45 a.m.-5 p.m. M-F) call the Department of Families and Children (DCF) area office that serves the city or town where the child lives. Nights, weekends, and holidays dial the Child-at-Risk Hotline at (800) 792-5200.  

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Bruising, welts or burns that cannot be sufficiently explained, particularly bruises on the face, lips and mouth of infants or on several surface planes at the same time
  • Unusual bruising patterns that reflect the shape of the instrument used to cause injury (e.g., belt, wire hanger, hairbrush, hand, human bite marks)
  • Clusters of bruises, welts or burns, indicating repeated contact with a hand or instrument
  • Injuries on the body where children usually do not get hurt (e.g., the torso, back, buttocks, thighs, neck)
  • Burns that are insufficiently explained, e.g., cigarette burns 
  • Immersion burns including marks indicating dunking in a hot liquid, including “stocking” and “glove” burns on feet and hands, or “doughnut” shaped burns on buttocks and genitalia
  • Rope or restraint burns on the arms, hands, neck or legs
  • Dry burns caused by forced contact with a hot surface (e.g., a clothes iron, hair curler, heater or stove)
  • Lacerations and abrasions of the lip, eye, or to any part of a child’s face
  • Tears in the tissue of the gums, possibly as a result of force-feeding
  • Laceration or abrasion to external genitalia
  • Absence of hair or hemorrhaging beneath the scalp due to vigorous hair pulling
  • Withdrawn, fearful or extreme behavior

Signs of Neglect

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Is frequently absent from school or child care
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to parent or caregiver’s attention
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor
  • Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather

Information Provided by

 Department of Families and Children (DCF)


22 Main Street 

Mendon, MA 01756

Contact Us

Phone: 508-478-2737

Fax: 508-473-2741

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