In this paper, the theoretical framework of the bystander paradigm, as originally developed by Latane and Darley (1968, 1970), is extended to include an example of domestic violence on the basis of empirical research. The purpose of this study is to examine which personal and situational characteristics are associated with noticing and interpretation of child abuse. Records of telephone calls (n= 696) from nonprofessional bystanders who alleged child abuse were analyzed. Results show that these bystanders of child abuse are a diverse group, and include a considerable number of children (peers). Bystanders' characteristics, such as gender and age group, and bystanders' visual and auditory perceptions, affect their interpretation of the abusive situation, i. e., their level of certainty of the abuse. These and other findings are discussed, and implications for future research and the definition of bystanders are formulated.