What do I do about this? (child related)

Yesterday, my heart just about broke when I saw how my across the street neighbors were treating their little boy.
The mom and her father and the boy were going somewhere and obviously in a hurry.

I overheard the mom say, “Get in the car now, before I pull your pants down and beat your fucking ass!” The kid could not have been more that 5 years old and from where I stood, it appeared he was dawdling…acting like a kid, that is. He still hesitated about getting in the car…probably figured he was already in trouble and had nothing left to lose. I don’t know if the mom would have really hit her kid and I don’t know what the law says about verbal abuse. When stuff like this happens, I just want to take the kid home with me. I’ve never seen any evidence of abuse before.

What would you guys do?

if you’ve never noticed any abuse before, it could have been the mom was just at the end of her rope, and the boy had been complaining and resisting while still in the house - it may have been they were taking him somewhere necessary - like the doctor or somesuch - and that was they only way she knew how to hurry him along - chances are it was how her dad treated her.
Unless you see more and/or obvious signs of abuse, do nothing - you could be opening up a pandora’s box of problems for yourself if you step in now with little or no evidence. Which is not to say ‘don’t worry about it’; you’re human, you have a heart, of course you will worry. Just be observant, and if you see more abuse, then go ahead and report it

You could always call 1-800-4-A-CHILD. They can’t tell you whether you should report something or not, but they can give you an idea of what’s considered abuse.

Sadly, sometimes there’s little you can do, especially if you’ve never seen any obvious physical abuse. The Child Protective Services in many areas are swamped with cases to the point where they can only focus on the worst of the worst. (And they often don’t even manage to save all of them.)

Whatever you decide to do, remain anonymous. The potential for retalliation is high.

About eight years ago, I was living in an apartment building. My room-mates and I were getting ready to go out for the evening when we started hearing horrific screams and bangs. The screams were coming from a child, and it sounded like he/she was being slammed into a wall. The sceams were awful. You could tell that this was not the shrieks a child makes in play-- this poor kid was screaming in pain and terror. (It’s a sound I hope like hell I never have to hear coming from a child again.)

One of my room-mates called the police. We could hear what the cop said to the mother after she opened the door. “Yer neighbors called and said you was beatin’ your kid. You beatin’ your kid?”

“No, I ain’t!” the mother said indignantly.

“Okay,” the cop replied, jumped into his car and drove away.

After that, we were subjected to a campaign of harassment which included, but certainly was not limited to, calling the cops in the middle of the night and reporting that we were fighting (again and again), dumping a litter box on our steps, etc.