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Back To School Means Spike In Child Abuse Reports

CHICAGO (CBS) -- State child welfare officials say it's too hard to tell whether there's been an increase in reports of child abuse since news broke about Vikings running back Adrian Peterson taking a stick to his four-year old son.

DCFS spokeswoman Karen Hawkins says there's always a spike in reports of child neglect and abuse this time of year--right when school is resuming.

Child Abuse Reports

She says, "Teachers are mandated reporters. They are required by law to call the hotline when they suspect some type of maltreatment has happened to a child so we're always going to see an increase around this time."

Hawkins says there's a line between disciplining a child and physically abusing a child and that you should call the state's child abuse hotline if you suspect a child is being beaten. "Think of how you'd feel if you were that child and you knew adults knew what was happening around you and didn't say anything", she says.

Hawkins says disciplining goes too far, is too excessive when it leaves marks on a child or injures a child or an implement, like a stick is used, on a child.

The hotline number is 800-25-ABUSE.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services receives as many as 240-thousand calls every year to its child neglect and abuse hotline. Hawkins says they're answered by trained social workers. About 25-33% of the calls result in official investigation.

Hawkins says child abuse and neglect is everybody's business.

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