One Place is dedicated to providing our community members with the tools they need to recognize and report child abuse and neglect, ensuring that all children in our community have the opportunity to grow and thrive. Protecting children is a collective responsibility and everyone—regardless of whether you are an early educator or not—can help achieve a healthier, stronger community.
While child abuse and neglect can take many forms, a broad definition is any non-accidental or substantial risk of injury to a child, either inflicted or allowed by a parent, guardian, or caregiver. Child abuse and neglect include:
Common signs of abuse:
Common signs of abuse from a parent or adult caregiver:
It is your job as an adult to protect children from dangerous and abusive situations. In North Carolina, it is required by law that all adults report any suspected child abuse, neglect, or maltreatment.
To report, you do not need proof that maltreatment has occurred—you only need reasonable cause to suspect such an event.
Whether you are an early childhood educator or simply a community member, you must act if you suspect child maltreatment or abuse.
If a child discloses maltreatment
If a child tells you they have been abused or maltreated, stay calm and tell them you believe them. Listen closely to their explanations and reassure them that you will do something to keep them safe and out of harm’s way. Then, follow the steps below:
If you suspect abuse or neglect
If you have a suspicion about child abuse or neglect, you must report what you know to the county’s Department of Social Services (DSS). Do not be afraid to report—as long as you are acting in good faith with reason to believe possible abuse or neglect, you cannot be held liable.
Reporting child abuse or neglect
There are a number of common signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect. If you see a child exhibiting a cluster or two or more signs, this is a red flag. At the very least, speak with the child or parent or call your local Child Protective Services (CPS) agency.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call the Onslow County Department of Social Services (DSS) at (910) 455-4145.
In an ideal situation, you will have the following details to give to the counselor, however, this information is not required:
Note: You are not required to provide your contact information when making a report, but if you do, you will receive a notification if CPS will or will not investigate the case.
What happens next?
After the referral is made and you’ve discussed your concerns with a CPS social worker, a determination will be made as to whether or not DSS will complete an assessment
Depending on the situation, help will be provided to the family through:
Putting an end to child abuse in Onslow County requires a collective effort. There are several opportunities to learn more about becoming a safe adult and expanding your own knowledge of how to best protect children in our communities.
Darkness to Light:Stewards of Children®: Stewards of Children is a trauma- and evidence-informed training that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is designed primarily for adults working or volunteering in youth-serving organizations or activities, however, it is applicable and helpful for all adults. Learn more here.
Prevent Child Abuse NC: Provided free of charge thanks to support from the North Carolina Division of Social Services, Prevent Child Abuse NC offers two self-guided courses for adults.
Our Impact: Each program offered through One Place is designed to serve as a protective factor for children and families—from Early Head Start and NC Pre-K to Child Care Resources and Referrals (CCR&R). When children are hurt through abuse, One Place offers hope and healing through comprehensive services in our Child Advocacy Center. Learn more about our work here.