Gathering Information to Make the Report:
Before you make the report, it is important to be prepared with all of the information you will need. In Army programs, this means:
- All medical, CYSS, school, social service, command and law enforcement personnel are mandatory reporters. That is, they MUST report known or suspected cases of child AND spouse or intimate partner abuse as soon as they become aware of it.
- Where possible, the system will try to limit the knowledge of who made a report; however, often this is difficult because of circumstances, and there is no inherent promise of confidentiality. When reports are made in good faith (that is, not made maliciously just to get someone in trouble), Army and civilian investigative agencies do their best to ensure that the reporter does not suffer retaliation, secondary to making a good faith report.
- React immediately if children are in current danger. Tell your supervisor immediately, contact the police, and call the Reporting Point of Contact (RPOC – the agency designated on your installation to receive all reports of abuse/neglect). Ensure the children are safe.
- If children are not in immediate danger, gather your thoughts and memories. Document what you saw/heard/did in writing. This will help clarify your thoughts and observations; it will also record the event while still fresh in your mind. Include times and locations; be as detailed as possible. Be sure to date/time and sign the document. Provide a copy of this document to your director, to Family Advocacy personnel, to law enforcement, and/or to the state child protective service (CPS) as appropriate. ALWAYS keep a copy for your records.
Making the Report:
- If you suspect abuse, you must contact your installation Reporting Point of Contact (RPOC) as soon as possible. Each installation has a designated RPOC to whom all reports should go.
- After reporting to the RPOC notify your center or agency director. If your supervisor was involved in the situation (negatively) or if you are concerned that your supervisor will not handle the situation in an unbiased manner, report the situation to the next higher supervisor.
- You may also be asked by the RPOC (or perhaps another official) to make a report to the local state child protective service (CPS), since some States will only accept first-person reports.
- You can report abuse directly to the National Child Abuse Hotline (800-4-A-CHILD [422-4453]).
- If your installation does not have on-post FAP services, report child abuse/neglect to the off-post State CPS. Also inform your Director.
After the Report:
- Unfortunately, the results of the investigation are usually not releasable to staff or to the original reporter. This can be frustrating, but is usually necessary to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of those involved in the case. If you have additional information to share at a later date, you can contact Family Advocacy and/or CPS and provide it to a case manager.
- Army Regulation 608-18 is the Army's guiding regulation in matters of child and spouse abuse. Each state also has a specific set of rules and regulations that they follow. If you have questions about the rules/laws at your particular installation, please contact the Family Advocacy Program Manager or the Chair of the CRC. They can answer individual questions or provide you and others at your agency training on the exact rules and regulations that apply to your installation and situation.