If you suspect a child has been abused, here’s what to do:

1)  Remain Calm.  If a child discloses to you, he or she is most certainly scared and embarrassed.  If you react in an emotional way, the child may elect not to open up to you or other adults.

2)  Don’t Investigate.  Remember, the child has potentially been the victim of a serious crime.  Don’t ask the child (0r anybody else) a lot of questions.  Make sure you know just enough to ensure the child’s immediate safety, give the child comfort and assurance, but leave the investigation to professionals.

3)  Report.  Call DHR (256-582-7100) or law enforcement (911) right away.  Don’t delay.  Your prompt action could make all the difference in a child’s safety.

4)  Don’t Confront the Alleged Offender.  You could endanger the child and hinder the police investigation.

5)  Document.  Write down anything and everything that might help the investigation.

6)  Get Support.  If you have questions or need help in any way, call the Marshall County Child Advocacy Center (256-582-8492).