How do I report my neighbor for possibly abusing his child?

Dear Stop It Now!

My neighbor’s child, who is 10, was walking home from school with my daughter and told her that her dad plays “special games” with her when her mom is away for work. My daughter told me that this little girl described some activities that no little girl should know about, such as stripping and letting her dad put things into her private parts. These neighbors just moved in to the neighborhood recently and I don’t know them well but something has to be done!

Dear Concerned Neighbor,

Thank you for being the one willing to take action to protect a child.

Filing a report

You contact your local child protection agencies and file a report of suspected child sexual abuse. You can also call your local police. This can be done anonymously but I realize that reporting can seem like a drastic measure. However, reporting allows trained professionals to review the situation and put protective actions in place as needed. It opens the door for other services to help support your neighbor’s family. For more information, read about Child protective services and filing reports.

To file a report with your local child protection services, you can look for your state’s reporting information on the Child Welfare Information Gateway or contact ChildHelp.Your call to action is both courageous and admirable.  Children need adults who will speak up when they see or hear something happening that raises red flags about a child’s safety.

Talking with other involved adults

Also, have you thought about contacting the little girl’s mom to share with her what her daughter told your daughter? As difficult as it may be to hear such concerning information, her mom may be in the best position to follow up and ensure her daughter’s safety. Having these conversations can feel very scary.  Our Online Help Center offers some practical tips for these discussions; you may want to start by reading Finding the courage to speak up.  Please only proceed with talking with the mom if you feel certain that it will be safe for you to do so.

It is wonderful that your daughter knew to share this information with you. She heard information that she knew was unsafe and came to you. When children know that adults will look out for them, they are more secure and healthy. I’m glad that your neighbor’s daughter has you to help get the right professionals involved to help assess what is going on and how to help her. Thank you.

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: August 24th, 2012