File a report with Child Protective Services?
If the suspected abuse is taking place within a family, or between a child and another person who is in a caretaking role to the child, such as a teacher or day care provider, you should file a report with Child Protective Services.
File a report with the police?
If you suspect sexual abuse between a child and someone outside of the family who is not in a caretaking role, contact the local police department or law enforcement authority closest to the location where the abuse occurred.
You also have the option of filing with both authorities. If you file with an authority which is not best suited to take the report, ask them specifically who you should contact to file. Typically reports should be filed the area where you believe the abuse took place, not necessarily where the people involved are right now.
In many states reports can be filed with child protection authorities anonymously which means you can file without providing identifying information about who you are. If you have questions about filing you can call a confidential helpline such as Child Help USA or the Stop It Now! Helpline (1.888.PREVENT) to discuss your concerns before making your report.
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- 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