Reporting Child Abuse Pt. 2 – How to Report Child Abuse
One of the most common reasons adults give for failing to report child abuse is that they did not know how. Fortunately, the process of reporting a suspected case is actually very simple, and there are a number of resources available to should any questions arise.
Who Do I Call?
Every state has a department that handles reports of child abuse. These departments go by different names depending on location; most common are the Department of Social Services, Department of Human Welfare, and Department of Child and Family Services.
When filing a report, the you will generally have the option of filing over the phone or filing online; however, if you feel the case is an emergency, then you should make your report to 911 or your local law enforcement agency.
It is also important to remember that no burden of proof lies on you when reporting. Filing a report or incident does not require that you present evidence – suspicion or belief based upon observations or statements made by the child are all that is needed.
What Should I Expect When Filing a Report?
When filing a report, the person taking the report will likely ask a few questions. They are not quizzing you, only attempting to gather information so the report is as comprehensive as possible. As such, it is okay if you are unable to answer all of the questions you are asked. You may also remain anonymous.
According to the American Humane Association, common questions include:
- How do you know the child?
- Can you provide information about the child, including name, age, and address?
- What is the suspected abusers name?
- What is the suspected abusers relationship with the child?
- Can you provide additional information regarding the suspected abuser?
- Are there any other witnesses?
- Do you have contact information for the child’s parents?
- Do you know of any past instances regarding the child or suspected abuser?