To make a report, state laws require that you have reasonable suspicion that abuse is occurring.
This means you do not need proof of sexual abuse to make a “good faith” report to authorities.
What is a good faith report?
A good faith report means that you have reasonable suspicion of abuse, including any of the following:
- You witnessed a pattern of boundary violations by an adult or youth.
- You intervened in boundary violations, and yet the person continues.
- You received a disclosure of abuse or boundary violation from a child.
- You see physical signs of abuse.
Before you report, take a few moments to jot down some notes in two categories:
- What is the action, or failure to act, on the part of the parent or caregivers?
- How are these actions or failures to act affecting and hurting the child?
What do I need to make a report?
Make your report immediately to child protective services or law enforcement and include:
- Name of the alleged victim
- Age of the child
- Address where the child can be located
- Contact information for the child’s parents or caregivers, if known
- Types of abuse or neglect suspected
- Reason for making the report, including specific signs of maltreatment and whether it is part of an ongoing pattern
- Other children in the home, if known
- Name of the alleged perpetrator, if known
- The emergency nature of the report and whether the child is in imminent danger
- Name, phone number, and address of the reporter
When known, the following should also be shared with child protective services:
- Exact time the child disclosed abuse, of there was a disclosure
- Whether the perpetrator is aware of the report whether the non-offending parent was notified of the report
- Last occurrence of the offense
Additional Resources for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
Darkness to Light Helpline (1-866-FOR-LIGHT)
24/7 assistance providing local resource referrals and answering questions.
Serving the United States, its territories, and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week providing assistance in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential. Linked page includes a list of child protective services phone numbers by state.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline (1.800.843.5678)
National reporting hotline for internet safety
Homeland Security Investigations Tip Form
Online reporting of CSE, CSA, Trafficking to U.S. Homeland Security
Reporting – 38% Disclose
of child victims disclose abuse
Reporting – 4-8% Fabricated
4 - 8%
of reports are fabricated
Reporting – 52% of School Personnel
of child abuse cases are identified by school personnel