When Does a Person Have to Report Child Sex Abuse?

July 19, 2014

Is Now the Right Time to Make the Call to the State of Illinois?

Is now the right time to make the call to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS)? Do you have enough evidence that a child was sexually abused by a camp counselor in Arlington Heights, a youth group advisor in Northbrook, or another trusted adult anywhere in the Chicago area?

You Don’t Need to Be 100 Percent Sure

Regardless of whether you are a mandatory reporter, you may want to report alleged child sex abuse to the authorities. The DCFS estimates that about 70 percent of all abuse cases (not just sexual abuse cases) are not reported and that an abused child tells an average of seven adults before a report is made.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The DCFS encourages you to trust your instincts and to report alleged abuse—even if you are not absolutely certain it occurred. The DCFS has trained social workers screen calls and investigate alleged cases of sexual abuse to determine if a child is, in fact, being hurt. However, in order to do this important job, they need to know about the suspected abuse.

Act Without Delay

This is true regardless of the victim; however, if it is your own child who has been hurt, you need to take action right away. Do not let your child continue in the activity or in the care of the person who think maybe, could have, or possibly committed sexual abuse. Instead, remove your child from the situation and find out if your child was hurt. This may require the help of a pediatrician, a counselor, and an experienced attorney.

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