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.
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.
Report Child Abuse
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.
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.