Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

Printable Comprehensive FAQ | Child Abuse Protection Laws | Mandatory Reporting

The following information is intended only as a supplement to Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children® training, which provides in-depth learning, tools, and practical guidelines to help adults prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Click here for more information on Stewards of Children®.


State laws require that you have reasonable suspicion that abuse is occurring. That means you do not need proof of sexual abuse to make a good faith report to authorities.


Reasonable suspicion means you have witnessed physical or behavioral signs of maltreatment, either in the child or parent/caregiver, or both. OR, you have received a disclosure from a child about abuse, neglect, or boundary violations towards them.







Necessary Information

  • Child's name, address, and age
  • Parent's name and address 
  • Nature of the abuse
Helpful Information

  • Perpetrator's name
  • Details of the abuse

*If the child does not readily supply this information, do not continue to question or investigate. It could interfere later with the investigation. 




The benefits of your report may be longer term

Even though your report may not result in legal action, the investigation may cause other services to take place, like counseling or the provision of necessities for the child.


Sometimes the investigating professionals may not be able to gather enough evidence to act on your report. Still, your report may become part of a series of reports that can lead to an action later.




How should I talk to the child about the abuse?

Should I investigate the case further?

Should I tell the parents or guardians of my report?

Do I need proof to make a report?

Do I need to create a written report?

What if a child is in immediate danger?

What information will I need to provide when making a report?

Do I need to provide my name when making a report?

Are there penalties for not reporting?

What if I think I don't have enough information to make a report?