What should I do if I suspect a child is being abused?
Every person in the state of Indiana is legally required to report suspected child abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused, don't hesitate! Immediately call the Indiana Department of Child Services at 1-800-800-5556.
If you believe the child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local law enforcement agency.
For tips on how to respond to a child and make a report, visit the Indiana DCS website for more information.
Be ready to provide to DCS when filing a report
If possible, gather the following information:
Parent / Guardian information
Alleged perpretrator information
Type of allegation
Even if you feel you do not have enough information, still call and make a report.
Local law enforcement agencies
Arcadia Police Department - (317) 984-5662
Atlanta Police Department - (765) 292-2626
Carmel Police Department - (317) 571-2500
Cicero Police Department - (317) 984-3648
Fishers Police Department - (317) 595-3328
Indianapolis Police Department - (317) 327-3811
Lebanon Police Department - (765) 482-8836
Noblesville Police Department - (317) 776-6371
Plainfield Police Department - (317) 838-3565
Sheridan Police Department - (317) 758-2500
Tipton Police Department - (765) 675-2152
Westfield Police Department - (317) 896-3034
Zionsville Police Department - (317) 873-5410
County Sheriff’s departments
Boone County Sheriff’s Department - (765) 482-1412
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department - (317) 776-9887
Hancock County Sheriff’s Department - (317) 477-1147
Madison County Sheriff's Department - (765) 648-6775
Marion County Sheriff’s Department - (317) 327-1700
Tipton County Sheriff's Department - (765) 675-7004
How should I respond if a child discloses abuse to me?
Questions you should ask include:
What shouldn’t I do if a child discloses abuse to me?
Remain calm and listen to the child.
Reassure the child....
"I believe you."
"You did the right thing by telling me."
"It's not your fault."
Get the basic details of the abuse, but don't ask too many in-depth questions - the child may later be involved in a forensic interview and it is best to leave those details for the professional investigative team to discuss with the child.
What happened? (a basic overview of the abuse)
Who did it?
When did it happen?
Where did it happen?
Make sure to ask open ended questions.
Make sure the child is safe and not in contact with the alleged abuser.
Immediately contact the Department of Child Services or your local law enforcement agency.
Do not react with panic, anger or other strong emotions.
Do not ask too many detailed questions about the abuse.
Do not challenge or act like you don’t believe the child.
Do not conduct your own investigation or attempt to confirm the child’s report.
Do not keep it to yourself – you are legally required to report suspected abuse.
Do not ask the child to repeat the disclosure to other family members or friends – the child should next speak only with members of a professional investigative team.
Do not lie or make promises about what may or may not happen next.