Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse or Neglect

Under New Hampshire law (RSA 169-C:29), every person who has “reason to suspect” that a child has been abused or neglected is required to report that suspicion to DCYF (Division of Children, Youth and Families of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services) or directly to the police.  Under RSA 169-C:30, the initial report “shall be made immediately via telephone or otherwise.”

The requirement to report is not dependent on whether there is proof of the abuse or neglect, nor is it dependent upon whether the information suggests the abuse or neglect is continuing or happened in the past.  Any doubt regarding whether to report should be resolved in favor of reporting.  Failure to report may be subject to criminal prosecution, while a report made in good faith is entitled to both civil and criminal immunity. Additionally, a “credential holder”, as defined in New Hampshire Department of Education Rule 501.02(h), who fails to report suspected abuse or neglect risk having action taken by the New Hampshire Department of Education against his/her credential.  See N.H. Code of Conduct for Educators, Ed. 510.05 (e). 

The report should contain:

a.   the name and address of the child suspected of being abused or neglected,

b.  the person responsible for the child's welfare,

c.   the specific information indicating neglect/abuse or the nature and extent of the child's injuries (including any evidence of previous injuries),

d.  the identity of the person or persons suspected of being responsible for such neglect or abuse; and

e.   any other information that might be helpful in establishing neglect or abuse.

To report child abuse or neglect to DCYF, call 24/7 (800) 894-5533 (in-state) or (603) 271-6562.  In cases of current emergency or imminent danger, call 911.