Report Abuse

Child Advocacy Center > Resources > Report Abuse

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

Call 1-877-244-0864

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:

  • 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.

Don't:

  • 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.