More often, concerns lie in a “gray area” of vague uneasiness, sketchy details or uncertainty about what is actually happening. The decision to file a report regarding child abuse of any kind is almost always complicated by the reporter’s relationship to the child and family. If you are feeling torn about making your concerns known to Child Protective Services or law enforcement, it may be helpful to consider what may happen if this step is not[ital] taken. It can also be useful to consider what additional measures will assure the safety of a child. You might inform other adults and professionals about your concerns, or speak to members of the child’s family so that a plan for safety can begin immediately – regardless of your decision about whether or not to file.
Someone who abuses will usually do their best to maintain an environment of apparent normalcy in order to avoid suspicions on the part of others. Our silence allows people who sexually abuse to get and maintain access to vulnerable children. Let others know that you cannot be counted upon to be silent. We can all help prevent and stop the sexual abuse of children by speaking up and by learning some simple action steps. What is most important is to begin the conversation. Start somewhere.
Prevention can be a series of small steps. However, if you know that a child has been sexually abused, it is essential to take steps to protect that child. You can call your local police department or your local child protective services office. You can also bring the child directly to a therapist or a doctor, both of whom are required to report child abuse.