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How to Get Help


Should a report of abuse be made by a child, the following are important to remember:

• Stay calm
• Believe the child
• Support the child's decision to tell their story. Stress they did the right thing and it will help prevent harm
• Provide a safe, supportive environment for the child
• Give positive messages such as "I'm proud of you for telling" or "It is not your fault"
• Listen to the child and answer the child's questions honestly
• Report the alleged abuse verbally to
county social services within 24 hours and submit a written report (SFN 960 form) within 48 hours


• Panic or overreact. This may not only scare the child by may be misinterpreted as anger towards the child.
• Criticize or blame the child
• Avoid asking "why" questions
• Pressure the child into telling more than they are ready to tell. Let them share only as much as they are comfortable with sharing. 
Later investigation will focus on obtaining more specific details.

Once determination is made that a report of suspected abuse/neglect is necessary, the following procedure should be implemented:

1. A report should be made to the
county Social Service or local law enforcement agency where the child resides within 24 hours (numbers are on the back of the SFN 960 form). All agencies should have an on-call social worker if after 5:00 p.m. or the weekend. 

**For residents of a Native American Reservation: 

 Reports are made to:
- Tribal Child Welfare
- Bureau of Indian Affairs staff of the reservation of residence of the child
- Federal Bureau of Investigations Office

2. A
Report of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect Form SFN 960 is completed within 48 hours of the oral report and sent to the Social Service agency. Be sure to keep a copy on file for your own records. Be sure to document specifically what was reported by the child (or other reporting source).

3. If a child is showing physical signs of abuse such as bruises, burns, bleeding, etc. (or if the alleged abuse occurred within the past 72 hours) they should be taken immediately to the Emergency Room for medical attention.