Considering Filing Reports
"Should I wait until I’m sure before I file a report?"
- In most situations you do not need to wait to have “evidence” of child abuse to file a report to child protective services of police. However, it is always best when there is some symptom, behavior or conversation that you can identify or describe to a child protection screener or police officer when making the report. Remember to include all relevant information that you think might assist them.
- If you are a mandated reporter, check with your state’s requirements for mandated reporters as each state has a specific definition about what may be required in order for the authorities to accept a report, and under what circumstances you must file. In many cases having “reason to suspect abuse” is sufficient to contact authorities.
- If you are involved with a family court case when sexual abuse concerns arise, it is advisable to consult with your attorney as you consider filing reports which allege child sexual abuse by someone related to your active case.
"Do I call Child Protection or the police?"
- Typically, Child Protective Services (CPS) will accept reports and consider investigating situations in where the person offending is in a caretaking role for the child – parent, legal guardian, childcare provider, teacher, etc. Their primary objective is to make sure the child is safe in their own home or when with adults who are responsible for their care.
- The police usually take on the investigation of cases where the person offending has a non-caretaking role – family friend, neighbor, acquaintance, or unfamiliar adult or youth. In some cases CPS and the police will collaborate in the investigation, prosecution, and follow-up process. In some situations if one agency is not responsive you can seek the guidance or assistance of the other authority. Some families choose to file reports with both offices as they can and do share information between them when necessary.
Reporting Internet crime:
- The Cybertipline is an online and phone service which accepts leads regarding Internet criminal activity which are forwarded to law enforcement for review. Operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other state and law enforcement agencies, the Cybertipline has resources on Internet safety and Internet crime reporting. Contact www.cybertipline.com or 1.800.843.5678.
- Illegal images, websites or illegal solicitations can also be reported directly to your local police department. More and more police departments are establishing Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) teams.
Your Help CenterPrivacy
Your Help CenterPrivacy
- Recognizing Warning Signs
- Definitions of Child Sexual Abuse
- How Abuse Happens
- Understanding Sexual Behavior in Kids
- Warning Signs in Adults and Children
- Warning Signs of Abuse in Children (Behavioral and Physical)
- Signs an Adult May be At-Risk to Harm a Child
- Behaviors to Watch Out for When Adults are with Children
- How Can I Tell if My Child Has Been Sexually Abused?
- Warning Signs a Young Person May Be a Target of Online Sexual Abuse
- Warning Signs of Someone's Dangerous or Illegal Online Activity
- Prevention and Safety
- Keys to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children
- Creating a Plan for Safety
- Considering Filing Reports
- Talking About It
- Finding the Courage to Speak Up
- Speaking to Someone with a Sexual Behavior Problem
- When a Child Tells About Sexual Abuse
- How Should I Respond to the Child?
- What Should I Do after a Child Tells?
- How Can I Better Understand What My Child is Going Through?
- Possible Reactions of Non-Offending Parents and Caring Adults
- Is the Child Telling Me the Truth?
- What Might the Person Who Has Offended Be Thinking or Feeling after a Disclosure?
- Recovery and Therapy
- For Children and Adults Who Have Been Abused
- For Those At-Risk to Abuse Others or Who Have Offended
- For Parents and Caregivers
- Reporting and Legal Issues
- Filing Reports
- Child Protective Services and Police
- Legal Issues