How to Report Suspected Child Abuse

Reporting suspected child abuse can be an extremely difficult situation.  However, it’s a matter of urgency to get the child into a safe place when you know or suspect that he is being treated poorly.  Because an abusive home life can be a delicate situation, it’s important to handle the child and his family carefully.  Here are some tips on dealing with this sad situation so that the child can be cared for properly and the abuse is immediately put to a stop.

If you suspect that a child is being abused in his home, it’s important to enlist the help of others who have dealt with situations like this before.  Never take on the child’s problems alone.  Immediately call authorities to get involved in the abusive situation.  Contact Children and Youth Services and the child’s school to investigate the child’s home life and get the child to safety as soon as possible. 

You should always let authorities know, even if you only suspect abuse, as much as possible if you have information on a child being mistreated so that they can go into the child’s home and talk to the parents or caregivers of the child.

If you know for sure that child abuse is taking place, contact the above authorities and immediately contact the police to be sure the child is safe.  The police will prevent anymore abuse from happening by going into the child’s home and investigating his living situation quickly. 

Other authorities such as Children and Youth will not be able to get to the home as quickly as the police can.  Also, the police will immediately contact Children and Youth services and any other human services they feel need to be involved in the child’s abusive homelife.  The process will be much faster this way.

If a child has come to you and told you that he is being abused, but asked that you don’t say anything, try to talk to the child about his feelings as much as you can.  Explain that you only want him safe and happy and that you are required to keep him safe by telling someone who can help him. 

If child still requests that you do not tell anyone, try to encourage him to talk to someone at his school, such as a counselor, or to meet with someone at Children and Youth services and let him know that you will go with him.  Be his support and help him to deal with the emotions of being abused.

Tell him that you will not go to his parents, but that you really want to help make him safe and happy and must tell someone of higher authority with his help.

If you see the abuse of a child taking place, immediately call the police and step in to protect the child if possible.  Depending on where the abuse is taking place and who is harming the child, you must be very careful to keep yourself safe as well. 

If possible, enlist the help of others in the immediate area to remove the child from the abusive situation if it is happening in a public place.  When abuse happens in the child’s home and you witness it, try to stay calm and assess the situation as best you can. 

Take note of who is harming the child including any characteristics you can remember, where the child lives, names, and any other pertinent information that authorities can use to find the child and remove him safely.

Try to get a child out quickly if he is being abused and take him to a local hospital.  If this isn’t an option, call an ambulance to come get the child and treat him.  Always call the police in an abusive instance so that no one else is harmed and the abuser is dealt with properly. 

Do whatever you can to stop the situation from getting worse for the child.  If you feel that you interfering will harm the child more, don’t step in personally.  Call someone who can help the abused child including the police, Children and Youth Services (there is a hotline that offers immediate help to abused victims), and any shelters you feel would help the child get to a safer place. 

Contact your local hospital for more help if you need it.  Many hospitals have a child abuse hotline that offers immediate assistance to children that are being abused or neglected.

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