What Should I Do if a Child Tells Me They've Been Abused?


Believe the child

  • Believe a child if s/he tells you something. False reporting is a myth - only 3% of children make up claims of abuse. However, children often take back what they say once adults act improperly.
  • Remain calm. Assure the child you are listening and what s/he has to say is important.
  • Let him/her know that it wasn't his/her fault. 

Talk to the child

  • Listen - let the child do the talking.
  • You can ask if they are ok - be human
  • Ask open questions - who, what, where?


  • Don't conduct an investigation
  • Don't ask leading or suggestive questions. Don't insert the names of an adult you may suspect - let the child do the talking.
  • Don't interrupt the child

Young children

  • Ask simple questions & use simple language
  • Avoid questions related to time
  • Avoid "why" questions

Report the abuse

  • Call 911 or 410-361-2235 or your local agency CLICK HERE for #s
  • All investigations are confidential and you can report anonymously
  • Collect your facts and write down notes
  • When reporting try to have:
  • Child's Name
  • Age or Date of Birth
  • Present Location of Child
  • Permanent address
  • Caregiver's Name and Address
  • Brief description of the allegations
  • Let 911 help you - ask them questions if you are confused.