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The Diocese of Nashville provides this as a learning tool for staff, volunteers and others to learn about child abuse and neglect and our duty to report. 
Our goal is to provide a safe and protective environment by learning the signs of abuse and neglect; learning how to respond and what your duties are according to state law and diocesan policies.
Sexual abuse includes non-touching offenses.
Sexual abuse includes touching offenses.
Sexual abuse includes exploitation.
You may become aware of the abuse by observing certain physical indicators.
There are also behaviors that may indicate a child’s exposure to sexual abuse.
The parent/caregiver may show characteristics.
Another type of abuse is physical abuse.
We know that children are bruised during normal activities.  These bruises, when consistent with the story, would not be reported.
Other bruises are not consistent with normal childhood activity. Please consider the cause of the bruise and consult your supervisor about the need t report.
Bruises may be consistent with pinching and often appear on the outside of the body.
This is a protected area that would normally not be injured by accident.
A child may be injured while trying to protect themselves from being harmed.
These marks are consistent with a looped cord.
This is consistent with an adult bite mark.
There are also behaviors that may indicate a child’s exposure to physical abuse.
No one behavior indicates abuse but should be considered with other information.  It is always appropriate to be concerned about these behaviors on behalf of the child.
The parent/caregiver may show characteristics. 
The parent/caregiver is vulnerable in these areas and that may make their child vulnerable.
There are also behaviors that may indicate neglect of a a child.
Once again, we recognize that children tell us a lot by their behaviors.
Counseling, parenting programs and other services can strengthen families and reduce the risks.
When a child discloses abuse, it may happen as others problems are surfacing as well.  The whole story will not be shared.  Your response can be supportive and include a brief explanation about your duty to report.
There are a number of actions that can help you and the child.
Tennessee State law requires that a report be made to: The Dept. of Children's Services; or law enforcement or the Judge with Juvenile Court Jurisdiction.  The Dept. of Children's Services will always participate in the investigation.  They should be called as a first resource.  Law enforcement may be called in some situations where extra protection is indicated.
Children's Services will investigate under these circumstances:
Be prepared with the following information if it is available to you.  It will aid DCS with their investigation.
You should use the child’s phrases.  This information will be held confidential.  Your direct knowledge is important.
DCS has begun a central intake service.  If the child lives in any of the counties identified, please call 1-877-237-0004.  Otherwise contact your local office of the Department of Children’s Services.
DCS staff will determine the need for investigation and assign a  priority level.  IN most situations, you will be informed if they have begun investigation.  You will not be informed beyond that to protect the privacy of the child and family.
DCS tries to protect a child within the home whenever possible.  Alternates to removing a child are always a consideration.
The Diocese of Nashville supports these laws. All clergy and laypersons of the Diocese of Nashville and its subsidiaries are bound by Tennessee law to report all known or suspected abuse to the appropriate civil authorities.
Each diocesan entity has identified a “Safety Coordinator.”  Within their organization, they assure the following occur for staff and volunteers working with youth.
The diocesan school system has the most direct contact with youth and have internal procedures that will be followed by those institutions.
Other diocesan staff or volunteers will follow a protocol for notifying pastors or administrators when a report has been made.
The diocese requires an additional level of notification when the alleged perpetrator of child sexual abuse is a cleric or a layperson acting on behalf of the Diocese or its subsidiaries.
There are many organizations that provide services to families and further information to your staff and community.  Please use these resources to strengthen your community as you provide a safe environment.