At Bellevue, we take the safety and protection of children seriously. In the state of Tennessee, a child is anyone under the age of 18. Please read the following information and add the Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline’s phone number to your contacts, so you will be ready should you suspect abuse.
Bellevue Baptist Church is considered a mandatory reporting agency. Our staff and volunteers are required by Tennessee state law to report all cases, or suspected cases, of child abuse and neglect. Child abuse and neglect occur when a child is mistreated, resulting in injury or risk of harm. The abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual.
If a volunteer observes any indication of abuse involving a minor or is given any indication of such abuse in discussions with a minor, they must report it to the appropriate state agency.
Bellevue volunteers are expected to be alert when caring for minors. Observations of abusive behavior by any individual (e.g. a parent, sibling, co-volunteer) must be reported immediately to the Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline.
If you suspect abuse
1. Call the Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline: +1 (877) 237-0004
They will ask you several questions. If you need help obtaining any of the following information, please contact Bellevue’s staff for assistance.
- Child’s name
- Child’s date of birth
- List of others in the child’s home
- Child’s address
- Child’s phone number
They will offer to provide you with a case number. Please get this number and write it down.
2. Alert Bellevue staff about the suspicion and that you reported it to authorities.
Please note: The appropriate authorities are ready to investigate and determine if abuse is happening. It is not your job to investigate but to simply report your suspicion.
Below are indicators of child abuse and neglect. Please note that the signs in each category may pertain to one or more types of abuse or neglect.
Signs of sex abuse
- Soreness or bruising, pain or itching in genital or anal areas
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Nightmares or bedwetting
- Unexplained loss of appetite
- Becoming isolated or withdrawn
- Excessive masturbation or sexual play
- Abuses children, animals, or pets
- Attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment
- Obsession with pornography or viewing sexually explicit photos
- Repeated runaway or suicide attempts
- Self-destructive behavior/self-injury/cutting, risky or delinquent behavior
- Substance abuse
Signs of physical abuse
- Unexplained fractures or injuries
- Previous injuries in various healing stages
- Patterned injuries consistent with objects of abuse (cigarettes, belt, hands)
- Burns on extremities, buttocks, or genitals
- Frightened of or shrink at the approach of an adult caregiver
- Emotional turmoil (anxiety, depression, suicidal); developmental delays
- Self-isolation or undue aggression
- Fear of going home; many school absences
- Abuses animals or pets
Signs of emotional abuse
- Anxiety, depression, or humility
- Constant belittling, shaming, and humiliation
- Developmental delays; failure to thrive
Signs of sexual exploitation of minors
- History or presence of emotional, sexual, or other physical abuse
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Evidence of homelessness; no identification and runaway
- Inexplicable appearance of expensive gifts, clothing, or other costly items
- Presence of an older boy-/girlfriend
- Evidence of drug use
- Possesses multiple phones and hotel room cards
- Repeated statement of urgent need to leave or get back home
Signs of neglect
- Abandonment or reports that there is no one at home to provide care
- Constant hunger or begs or steals food for money; signs of malnutrition
- Abuses alcohol or drugs
- Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather or clothes are filthy
- Neglected personal hygiene (body odor, matted hair)
- Consistent lack of supervision
- Untreated medical issues