What Can I Do If I Suspect Child Sexual Abuse?

If you suspect child sexual abuse, this may be a perfect opportunity to stop the abuse before a child has something to disclose.

If you feel that an adult is being inappropriate with a child (see Warning Signs About Child Sexual Abuse), you may want to talk to this adult about your concerns. You can let the individual know that the behavior is making the child and others uncomfortable and stress the importance of specialized treatment. Some people who have sexually abused have said that if they were confronted, by someone that cared about them, they might have stopped and looked for help.

You may want to consider keeping a journal in order to document concerning behavior in an adult or a child. The journal should be specific, complete with date, time and behavior that warrants concern.

If you suspect child sexual abuse, you may want to bring the child to an expert in order to obtain a professional opinion on whether he or she is being sexually abused. You should be aware that in most states counselors are mandated reporters and will be required to notify the authorities if there are grounds to suspect that a child is endangered. For information on specialized treatment referrals see our resource page.

Finally, report anything you suspect is child sexual abuse. Without help, the abuse will not stop. To report, you can call your local police department or your state child protective services office (these numbers are listed in your local phone book).
Other "What Can You Do" Pages
  Disclosure And Your Response
  Reporting Cases of Child Sexual Abuse

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