Report Child Abuse or Neglect
In South Dakota, anyone can call to report child abuse and neglect. Intake Specialists with SD Department of Social Services will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If reporting before 8 a.m., after 5 p.m., on the weekends or during a holiday, please contact local law enforcement. Always call 911 if a child is in immediate danger!
Handling a Child’s Report
Disclosure is the act of a child telling another person that they have been abused or neglected. Disclosure of maltreatment of any kind may take time, even years. Reasons children may not tell may include, but are not limited to:5
- Fear of being removed from their homes
- Fear of not being believed
- Shame or guilt
What to do if a Child Discloses Abuse
- Practice your response before the situation arises.
- Let your body language tell the child that you hear what he/she is telling you and that you believe them.
- Write down the exact words the child used in the disclosure.
- Thank the child for having the courage to report this to you.
- Inform the child, as soon as possible, of what will happen next with the reporting.
- Protect the child by not discussing the allegation with others.
- Report the abuse.
- Use shocked or disbelieving body language when a child discloses to you.
- If you are skeptical, try not to express your doubts to the child.
- Don’t suggest or guess that the child might have been abused.
- Do not make a conclusion about the validity of the allegation.
- Do not ask the child any questions.