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 and then call your local law enforcement agency.
Arcadia Police Department                            984-5662
Atlanta Police Department                             765-292-2626
Carmel Police Department                             571-2500
Cicero Police Department                              984-3648
Fishers Police Department                             595-3328
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department         776-9887
Noblesville Police Department                      776-6371
Sheridan Police Department                           758-2500
Westfield Police Department                          896-3034
Department of Child Services Hotline            1-800-800-5556
How should I respond if a child discloses abuse to me?

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

    • 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 the child is safe and not in contact with the alleged abuser.
  • Immediately contact your local law enforcement agency or the Department of Child Servies (above).

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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