The best way to help abused children is to prevent abuse from ever happening.

But whenever abuse is suspected, reporting is crucial and in most cases the law.

  • Reporting abuse could save a life.
  • Abusive families need help – reporting can give families opportunities for counseling and support.
  • The cycle of abuse can be stopped – victims of abuse who receive counseling are less likely to become abusers.

Remember you are not making an accusation but reporting a concern. It is not your job to iinvestigated, only to report a suspicion.

If you suspect abuse call the reporting hotline at 1-800-292-9582.

When making a report you will need some basic information:

  • Name of the child and age
  • Child’s address
  • Parent’s name, phone number and address
  • Reason for suspicion include specific information
  • Type of abuse
  • Name of suspected perpetrator
  • Your relationship to the victim
  • Your name, address, and telephone number

If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call 911!

Responding to a disclosure

When a child discloses abuse it can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with; however your response is crucial! Try to keep the following in mind if a child discloses abuse to you:

  • Remain calm.
  • Use a “poker” face.
  • Listen.
  • Do NOT ask leading questions.
    • Ask “What Happened?” not “Who did that to you!?”
    • Ask “What Happened?” not “Did your dad do that!?”
  • Do NOT make promises.
  • Believe the child and be supportive.
  • Assure the child that the abuse is not his/her fault.
  • Tell the child he/she is doing the right thing.

Abuse in public places

If you see a child being hurt in public do what you can to help:

  • Divert the adult’s attention.
    • Start a conversation with the adult.
      • “My child has gotten upset like that too,”
      • “Children can really wear you out, can’t they?”
  • Talk to the child.
  • Praise the parent or child.
  • Find something positive to say about the child or the parent.
    • “That’s a nice coat, where did you get it?”
    • “She has beautiful brown eyes!”
  • Offer to Help.
  • Avoid negative looks or comments.
    • Negative looks or comments often increase the adult’s anger and may make things worse.

Delaware’s Mandated Reporting law:

Subsection 903
“Any physician and other person in the healing arts including any person licensed to render services in medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, and intern, resident, nurse, school employee, social worker, psychologist, medical examiner or any other person who knows or reasonably suspects child abuse or neglect shall make a report in accordance with 904 of this title”

Subsection 904
“Any report required to be made under this chapter shall be made to the Division of Family Services of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. An immediate oral report shall be made by telephone or otherwise. Reports and the contents thereof including a written report, if requested, shall be made in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Division of Family Services…”

Subsection 906
“Anyone participating in good faith in the making of a report pursuant to this chapter shall have immunity from liability, civil, or criminal, that might otherwise exist and such immunity shall extend to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from such report.”

Subsection 909
“Whoever knowing and willingly violates this chapter shall be fined not more than $1000 or shall be imprisoned not more than 15 days or both”

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