You may be the only person who can begin to make life better for an abused or neglected child.
Research shows that most child abuse involves people responsible for taking care of the child, such as parents, family or household members, or other caregivers.
Who must report?
In North Dakota, anyone may report suspected child abuse or neglect to Child Protection Services (CPS). However, certain professionals (mandated reporters) must, by law, report suspected child abuse or neglect. To fulfill the mandate, reports must be made directly to a county social service agency.
Know the signs
The first step in helping an abused or neglected child is to learn to recognize the signs. A single sign does not prove that child abuse or neglect is occurring, and there is no one sign of child abuse or neglect.
Role of the First Responder
Seek immediate medical care if:
- A child has an injury, is bleeding or seems unwell (vomiting, disoriented, etc.)
- An infant or toddler may have been physically abused
- There is a psychological emergency (suicidal, etc.)
- Suspected sexual abuse occurred within the last 72 hours
- An adolescent experienced nonconsensual penetration within the past 5 days
- If concerns or questions seem urgent.
This statement should be gathered from sources other than the child and should not be done in the child’s presence.
Minimal facts interview with the child
There will be times when it is necessary to conduct a minimal facts interview of the child. Under the following circumstances a minimal facts interview of the child should be conducted:
- When the child may be in imminent danger
- When you are unable to obtain basic information of the allegation from other sources
- When the child is your only source of information
A minimal facts statement should include:
- What happened?
- When did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
- Who did this?
- Was anyone else involved?
- If a mandated reporter has reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected the mandated reporter MUST report to Child Protected Services or Law Enforcement Immediately
- In cases of suspected child sexual abuse or severe physical abuse, Child Protective Services or Law Enforcement will arrange for an in-depth forensic interview of the child at the Children’s Advocacy Center.