WHAT IF I SUSPECT A CHILD IS BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED?
Trust your gut! Talk to someone about your suspicions. Step in, stop abuse! Report!
Any person may make a report of child abuse. This is a voluntary, but important action. The report is made when the person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused child. Only suspicion, not proof, is needed. While the system allows for these reports to be made anonymously, it is very helpful to have the name and phone number of the reporter. During the investigation, questions can arise and the reporter may be able to help by providing additional information and clarification.
Confronting the abuser may be unwise, even dangerous, but if confrontation is unavoidable, do it only when the child is not present.
Report the incident to your county child welfare agency or to the police. In Pennsylvania, U.S.A., you can also report to CHILDLINE, the Pennsylvania state-wide child abuse hotline at 1-800-932-0313. Reports may be made anonymously.
Child sexual abuse can be highly traumatic, and while not all children suffer long term effects, serious repercussions are not unusual. It may be helpful for you and the child to speak with a counselor trained in addressing child sexual abuse.
What is the HERO Project?
HERO, a project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, is a community-based, media-driven, child sexual abuse prevention program designed to educate and motivate adult community members to call the 24-hour HERO Hotline if they suspect child sexual abuse.