What should I do if I suspect a child is being abused?

Every person in the state of Indiana is legally required to report suspected child abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused, don't hesitate! Immediately call the Indiana Department of Child Services at 1-800-800-5556.   If you believe the child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local law enforcement agency.

 

For tips on how to respond to a child and make a report, click HERE or visit the Indiana DCS website for more information.  

 

 

 LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

Arcadia Police Department                               (317) 984-5662

Atlanta Police Department                                (765) 292-2626

Carmel Police Department                                (317) 571-2500

Cicero Police Department                                 (317) 984-3648

Fishers Police Department                                (317) 595-3328

Indianapolis Police Department                        (317) 327-3811

Lebanon Police Department                              (765) 482-8836

Noblesville Police Department                          (317) 776-6371

Plainfield Police Department                             (317) 838-3565

Sheridan Police Department                              (317) 758-2500

Tipton Police Department                                  (765) 675-2152

Westfield Police Department                             (317) 896-3034

Zionsville Police Department                            (317) 873-5410

COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENTS

Boone County Sheriff’s Department                 (765) 482-1412

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department            (317) 776-9887

Hancock County Sheriff’s Department             (317) 477-1147

Madison County Sheriff's Department              (765) 648-6775

Marion County Sheriff’s Department               (317) 327-1700

Tipton County Sheriff's Department                 (765) 675-7004

 

Department of Child Services Hotline (800) 800-5556

 

 

How should I respond if a child discloses abuse to me?

  • Remain calm and listen to the child.
  • Reassure the child....

Say...

  • "I believe you."
  • "You did the right thing by telling me."
  • "It's not your fault."

 

Get the basic details of the abuse, but don't ask too many in-depth questions - the child may later be involved in a forensic interview and it is best to leave those details for the professional investigative team to discuss with the child.  

 

Questions you should ask include:

  • What happened? (a basic overview of the abuse)
  • Who did it?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Make sure to ask open ended questions. 
  • Make sure the child is safe and not in contact with the alleged abuser.
  • Immediately contact the Department of Child Servies or your local law enforcement agency.

 

What shouldn’t I do if a child discloses abuse to me?

  • Do not react with panic, anger or other strong emotions.
  • Do not ask too many detailed questions about the abuse.
  • Do not challenge or act like you don’t believe the child.
  • Do not conduct your own investigation or attempt to confirm the child’s report.
  • Do not keep it to yourself – you are legally required to report suspected abuse.
  • Do not ask the child to repeat the disclosure to other family members or friends – the child should next speak only with members of a professional investigative team.
  • Do not lie or make promises about what may or may not happen next.

 

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