Child Abuse Prevention & Protection

Young girl with head in her hands, accompanied by a teddy bear

Learn the basics of what constitutes child abuse and what to do if you suspect abuse.

What is Child Abuse?

In accordance with Section 43-21-105 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated,

“Abused Child means a child whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused upon said child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, non-accidental physical injury or other maltreatment. Provided, however that physical discipline, including spanking, performed on a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in a reasonable manner shall not be deemed abuse under this section.”

Corporal Punishment

In regard to physical abuse, it is important to understand that although parents, guardians, and custodians are legally allowed to utilize corporal punishment, they are not allowed to cause bruises, marks, or other injuries to children when utilizing corporal punishment. Any evidence of such will be recognized as abuse by the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services.

Report Child Abuse

Report Child Abuse Online (Non-Emergency)

The online reporting system has been provided for reporting suspicions of abuse/neglect that do not require an emergency response. 

Click here to report non-emergency child abuse and neglect.

Report Child Abuse (Emergencies Only)

Call local law enforcement agency or 911 if the situation is a life-threatening emergency. 

A situation where a child is at immediate risk of abuse/neglect that could result in death or serious harm is considered an emergency.

If you have any doubt about your referral being an emergency, please call Mississippi Centralized Intake instead of using the online referral system.

Call Centralized Intake at 800-222-8000 (nationwide) or 601-432-4570 if:

  • The situation you are reporting is an emergency;
  • You prefer to remain anonymous;
  • You have insufficient data to complete the required fields using the online reporting system; or
  • The suspected abuse/neglect you are reporting occurred outside the state of Mississippi, and you do not know how to contact the state where it occurred.

If none of the above applies, please use the abuse link to submit a non-emergency report online.

Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services

The Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services (MDCPS) is the state agency accountable for child welfare in Mississippi. 

Visit the MDCPS website for more information.