Information for Parents & Families
If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect
In case of any emergency, dial 911 immediately.
In addition, you must:
1. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect: 800-792-5200
2. Call the Smith College Campus Police: 413-585-2490
Smith College takes seriously its commitment to promoting a safe and welcoming environment for minors participating in Smith programs and activities and non-College programs that occur on its campus. The College’s Child Safety Policy seeks to protect minors participating in programs and activities and to provide guidance to College students, faculty, staff and volunteers.
Protecting Our Community
The College is taking a number of important steps to establish safeguards for your child:
- We are educating members of the College community and those who run programs or activites on campus about the warning signs of abuse and neglect.
- We have established clear requirements for reporting known or suspected minor abuse or neglect.
- We have created guidelines for working with minors for those who are involved in programs or activities involving minors.
- We are requiring training on the protection of minors for those who will work with minors.
- We are requiring certain categories of adults who participate in programs or activities involving minors to clear criminal background checks.
Important Tips for Parents and Families
In addition to the steps the College has taken, there are important things you can do to protect your child.
Make sure that you understand your responsibility to report issues
- Call 911 if you suspect that there is immediate danger to any child.
- Let the College know promptly by contacting Smith Campus Police 413-538-2490 and the Program/Activity Director for your child’s program/activity if your child expresses concern about behavior that may be abusive or neglectful.
- In Massachusetts, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse should immediately report this information to the DCF Area Office serving the child's residence and ask for the Protective Screening Unit. You will find a directory of the DCF Area Offices at the end of this Guide. Offices are staffed between 9 am and 5 pm weekdays. To make a report at any other time, including after 5 p.m. and on weekends and holidays, please call the Child-At-Risk Hotline at 1-800-792-5200. A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously.
Talk to your child using age-appropriate language about the following:
- The difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching.
- The fact that children can say NO to any touch they don’t want and that they should trust and pay attention to their feelings and ask questions when they feel uncomfortable.
- The fact that children can and should speak up if they ever feel unsafe.