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Child Abuse and Neglect

Under NH law and EMS protocols, EMS providers are required to report suspected child abuse immediately.

Call Child Abuse Report Line, 800-894-5533 or (603) 271-6556 between the work hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday

Sometimes, people are unsure if a situation is abusive. Even if you're in doubt, call. Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) has extensive experience in child protection. DCYF may find no abuse or neglect has taken place but may still offer assistance to the family.

  • Call local police department during non-work hours and holidays and follow up with a telephone call to the Child Abuse Report Line during work hours.

  • Informing hospital personnel or involving law enforcement does not fulfill legal reporting responsibilities in accordance with state law.

  • Do not send reports of suspected child abuse by email.

Responsibility for reporting child abuse and protection from liability for such reporting is established by the NH Child Protection Act, Chapter 169-C.

Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)


What to do if you suspect abuse or neglect?

Warning signs of abuse

New Hampshire EMS Protocols


Victims of Violence Protocol 8.20

child with hand blocking face

What should I do if I suspect abuse or neglect?

EMS Procedure for Assessment
  • Treat and document assessment findings using appropriate medical treatment protocols without causing undue emotional trauma.

  • Whenever possible, secure and bag (in paper) clothing or items needed as evidence.

  • Interview patient in a calm, respectful, and private manner, while observing for:

  1. Mental status.

  2. Inappropriate fears or atypical reaction to situation.

  3. Avoidance behaviors.

  4. Inappropriate interaction with caregiver or parent.

  • Do not interrogate, accuse, or otherwise address specifics of abuse or neglect to patient, caregiver or parent.

  • Obtain pertinent history relating to presenting injuries or illness.

  • Document verbatim any patient statements of instances of rough handling, sexual abuse, alcohol/drug abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, isolation or confinement, misuse of property, threats, and gross neglect such as restriction of fluids, food, medications, or hygienic care.

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