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What do you do if a child says they were sexually assaulted?

What do you do if a child says they were sexually assaulted? The first thing you should do, is tell the child that it was not their fault, the second thing you should do is find out what you can and report it to the authorities.

Calling 911 and reporting the incident to keep the child protected should be your top priority. RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) outlines a professional yet compassionate protocol for responding to a child’s confession of sexual abuse and how to report it. Always remember, your top priority should be to protect the child in the situation, not the adult being accused.

It is likely that an adult who a child is reporting abuse to will not be prepared for how to react, that is why organizations like RAINN are here to help guide you through the process. You can also visit RAINN’s State Law Database to see where to report to in your state. You can also call or text the Childhelp National Abuse Hotline at 800.422.4453 so you can connect with a trained volunteer. While the Childhelp Hotline crisis counselors will not make the report for you, they can provide help in walking you through the process to better help you know what to expect.

Prevention is key to protecting children from sex crimes. Learn more about the precautions you can take to protect children from sex crimes at this blog post “What precautions should a parent take to prevent their child from sex crimes?”

Video Transcript

Shawn McDonald: “I would dial 911. That’s me. But some people, you know it may be… Uncle Jimmy who lives in New York and he was just down here staying for a month and he’s back in New York. Then maybe that’s a not emergency next day. But if it’s a neighbor, if it’s a coach, if it’s, you know, someone living in the house, stepdad, it’s a 911 call. We need to get out… because that person needs to make sure this child is protected.


*This blog post, “What do you do if a child says they were sexually assaulted?”, is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.