In some states, if you have reason to suspect that a child may be the victim of neglect, physical or sexual abuse or threatened harm, you’re legally obligated to report the case for further investigation to the state child abuse hotline. Failing to protect a child is a crime punishable by law. Making a known false report is also a crime. When you make a report, you can remain anonymous. It’s not up to you to prove that child abuse occurred, that’s the job of investigators. Reporting someone for child abuse does not mean the child will automatically be removed from his or her home. Child protective services and the court system are set up to keep families together, but they do provide emergency shelter and care outside the home when necessary. Sometimes, if there’s a crisis, children are placed with relatives or someone they already know while the family figures out what to do to keep the children safe. Consult an child safety program in your area for more information about your states laws about responsibility to report abuse.