Dec. 28, 2010 at 11:30 PM ET
"Teen Mom" star Amber Portwood is out on bail after pleading not guilty to charges of domestic violence. Police started investigating the 20-year-old reality TV star after a September episode of the MTV show "Teen Mom" showed her slapping, choking and kicking the 24-year-old father of her daughter, who is now 2. Portwood is charged with domestic battery and child neglect – her child, Leah, reportedly witnessed at least two instances of alleged domestic violence caught on camera.
Dozens of viewers called the state’s child-abuse hotline to report Portwood’s outbursts, a spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Child Services said. Interesting side note: under Indiana law, anyone who witnesses child abuse is required by law to report it, not just caregivers as in most states. So MTV camera-people and producers could theoretically be in trouble, though that's probably unlikely.
Sometimes abuse is really clear-cut – say, hypothetically speaking, when it’s filmed and broadcast on a major cable channel. But in real life, as opposed to reality television, making the call can be a lot harder. Obviously, protecting children has got to be our first priority; but at the same time, if you're not sure, a false accusation could really mess with someone's life. Have you ever suspected that a child you knew was being abused, or witnessing abuse – and if so, what did you do? Have you ever called Child Protective Services on another parent?