If you suspect someone is being, or has been, sexually abused, REPORT IT! Nothing can be done to stop the abuse, punish the perpetrator and accordingly, stop the progression of abuse, unless incidents are reported.
Any report is worthy of belief and investigation. Respect your children’s reports and allegations, even with their compromised and under-developed systems of perception and values. Ask! Observe! When necessary, report!
While Mandy, a 5–year old daycare student, lacks many powers of perception and understanding, she deserves belief when she tells her mother that Ms. Davis “touched her peepee.” Her powers of perception to understand the ramifications of Ms. Davis’ actions are undoubtedly compromised. It may turn out that, upon investigation, Ms. Davis was legitimately and understandably trying to assist Mandy after she wet her pants, but Mandy’s allegations deserve investigation.
Reporting to the Police
Every case must start by making a report to your local police or county sheriff’s office. This can be accomplished in any one of the following manners:
- In-person visit
- Phone call
- Written letter
The investigative powers of prosecutors and police with the ability to interview, subpoena and search premises during an investigation, are well advanced over the ability of victims or even organizations to do so. If you have concerns for the safety of the victim, make this known at the outset and ask to speak with a “victim’s advocate.”
Reporting to an Organization or Company
Although it is always best to report any allegations of sexual abuse to the proper authorities, a company or organization can initiate an investigation. Make sure to report your suspicions to someone who has the authority to investigate the abuse and take immediate action.
Keep in mind, the abuser and any organization with which he/she is associated, have a vested interest in hiding or denying a claim. Hence, a report from the abuser that the allegations are false, or from the organization that they found no credibility to the allegations during their own investigation, should not necessarily end the inquiry. Parents and older victims need to be invested in the investigation as well. Find out:
- Who was interviewed?
- What was asked?
- Are there witnesses?
- Were there other incidents?
- Is this the first time you’ve gotten a complaint about Ms. Davis?