What to do if you suspect abuse?
It is your responsibility to act if you believe a child is being sexually abused. Don't delay - never assume that somebody else will make the report and don't put off reporting because you're not sure if you should. It is better to make a report and let trained professionals decide what action needs to be taken than to risk further harm to the child. The sooner you report, the sooner the child and family can get help.
A report of possible child sexual abuse should be made to the appropriate human service or law enforcement agency in your community.
A few other things to remember:
- In most cases, your report will be kept confidential. However, your identity may be revealed if you're called to testify in court. If you are concerned about being identified, you can make a report without giving your name.
- Wisconsin has a law protecting people who report "in good faith," meaning that the reporter had reasonable cause to believe abuse/neglect had occurred.
- After you make a report, the agency will first determine whether the information constitutes an allegation of child sexual abuse as defined by Wisconsin law. If the report is found to meet the definition, the agency will investigate the case and determine what actions to take to ensure the child's safety and determine whether the family is in need of services.
For more information on how and where to report suspected child abuse, visit the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.