Child abuse is an adult problem, and it will take the adults in our community to keep our children safe. A parent or professional who works with children is often the first person a child talks to about any abuse they may be experiencing.
If a child discloses abuse to you, it is your responsibility to report the abuse.
Report Child Abuse
Follow these steps to ensure you have appropriately reported any allegations:
- If the child is in danger, call 911.
- As a parent, understand your child's real and emotional need for your support. Statistics suggest a child's resiliency is directly related to parental support.
- As an educator or medical professional, understand and follow your school or clinic's policy for filing a report. Always follow up to ensure a report was made!
- Contact your local Child Protection Services.
- In South Dakota, call 1-877-244-0864. Intake Specialists are available Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm.
- If you are not in South Dakota, find your state's child abuse reporting phone number here.
- If reporting an emergency situation before 8am, after 5pm, on the weekends, or during a holiday, please contact your local law enforcement.
- If appropriate, Child Protection Services or Law Enforcement will contact a Child Advocacy Center near you to schedule an interview.
Did you know?
Asking a child questions about alleged abuse may result in tainting the child's memory of the event or compromise the integrity of the investigation.
Tips for Handling a Disclosure.
If a child discloses abuse to you, the most important things you can say are:
- I believe you.
- This isn't your fault.
- We are going to get help.
- DO listen to and believe the child.
- DO write down the exact words the child used.
- DO thank the child for having the courage to tell you.
- DO protect the child by not discussing the allegation with others.
- DO report the abuse.
- Do NOT use shocked or disbelieving words or actions.
- Do NOT express doubt, even if you are skeptical.
- Do NOT suggest that the child might have been abused.
- Do NOT make a conclusion about the validity of the allegation.
- Do NOT ask the child ANY questions.
Learn more about what YOU can do to prevent abuse in our community.