What Parents/CareGivers Can Do

What should parents/caregivers do if they suspect abuse?

CALL 911 and report the facts to law enforcement.  They will investigate and determine if a crime has been committed.

  • Give the child a safe environment in which to talk to you or another trusted adult.
  • Encourage the child to talk about the abuse, but be careful to not suggest events that may not have occurred.
  • Guard against displaying emotions that would influence the child’s telling of the information. Listen, stay calm, and remain supportive of the child with words and gestures.
  • Reassure the child that he or she did nothing wrong.
  • Seek assistance for the child from a psychologist or other licensed mental health provider .
  • Arrange for a medical examination for the child. Select a medical provider who has experience in examining children and identifying sexual and physical trauma. It may be necessary to explain to the child the difference between a medical examination and the abuse incident.
  • Many states require that individuals who know or suspect that a child has been sexually abused must report the abuse to local law enforcement or child protection officials.
  • In all 50 states, medical personnel, mental health professionals, teachers, and law enforcement personnel are required by law to report suspected abuse.
  • Ask for help- There are a number of organizations focused on providing assistance to families dealing with child abuse.