To report a case, please use the MDCPS Report Child Abuse online system.
In accordance with Section 43-21-105 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, “Abused Child means a child whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused upon said child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, non-accidental physical injury or other maltreatment. Provided, however that physical discipline, including spanking, performed on a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in a reasonable manner shall not be deemed abuse under this section.”
Any person who knows or has reason to suspect abuse or neglect of a child by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person(s) responsible for the child’s care, is required by law to make a report to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. See Section 43-21-105 and Section 43-21-353 of the Mississippi Code for more information.
Be prepared to provide (as known):
- Victim’s name, address or location, school information, approximate age, race and sex.
- Description of the situation and marks or bruises that may be present.
- Person responsible for victim’s care, alleged perpetrator name(s), and witnesses to the situation.
- Other relevant information that would expedite an investigation such as; manufacturing of drugs in the home, possession of weapons, domestic violence, etc.
Call local law enforcement agency or 911 if the situation is a life-threatening emergency.
A situation where a child is at immediate risk of abuse/neglect that could result in death or serious harm is considered an emergency. If you have any doubt about your referral being an emergency, please call Mississippi Centralized Intake instead of using the online referral system.
- You prefer to submit the report verbally.
- The situation you are reporting is an emergency.
- The suspected abuse/neglect you are reporting occurred outside the state of Mississippi, and you do not know how to contact the state where it occurred.
If none of the above applies, please click the following link to make a non-emergency report:
Indicators of Abuse
Emotional or verbal abuse is anything said or done that is hurtful or threatening to a child and is the most difficult form of maltreatment to identify. Examples include:
- Name calling (“You’re stupid”)
- Belittling (“I wish you were never born”)
- Destroying child’s possessions or pets
- Threatens to harm child or people they care about (“I’m going to choke you” or “I’ll break your arm”)
- Locking a child in a closet or box
- Rejecting a child
- Isolating a child
Sexual abuse is any inappropriate touching by a friend, family member, anyone having ongoing contact with the child, and/or a stranger. Examples include:
- Touching a child’s genital area
- Any type of penetration of a child
- Allowing a child to view or participate in pornography
- Prostitution, selling your child for money, drugs, etc.
- Forcing a child to perform oral sex acts
- Masturbating in front of a child
- Having sex in front of a child
Physical abuse is any type of contact that results in bodily harm, such as bruising, abrasions, broken bones, internal injuries, burning, missing teeth, and skeletal injuries. Examples include:
- Hitting or slapping a child with an extension cord, hands, belts, fists, broom handles, brushes, etc.
- Putting child into hot water
- Cutting the child with a knife or any other sharp object
- Shaking or twisting arms or legs or yanking a child by the arm
- Putting tape over a child’s mouth
- Tying a child up with rope or cord
- Throwing a child across a room or down the stairs
Neglect means not meeting the basic needs of the child and is the most common form of maltreatment:
- Medical – not giving a child life-sustaining medicines, over-medicating, or not obtaining special treatment devices deemed necessary by a physician
- Supervision – leaving child/children unattended or leaving child/children in the care of other children too young to protect them (depending upon the maturity of the child)
- Clothing and Hygiene – dressing children inadequately for weather or persistent skin disorders resulting from improper hygiene
- Nutrition – lack of sufficient quantity or quality of food, letting a child consistently complain of hunger, or allowing the child to rummage for food
- Shelter – having structurally unsafe housing, inadequate heating, or unsanitary housing conditions