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What Should I Do if a Child is being Abused?

Stay calm

It is important to remain calm, because the child may think your anger is directed towards her/him.

Believe the child

Let the child know you believe her/him. Tell the child that the abuse was not her/his fault.

Listen to the child

Let the child tell you what happened in her/his own words. Expect that the story may be incomplete. Typically, details come out as time goes by. Young children, in particular, may not know how to explain what happened to them. Some children may deny the incident ever occurred.

Do not confront the abuser or rapist. Leave it to the police.

Contact ChildLine if you suspect child abuse at 1-800-932-0313.

Report abuse

Call your local police
Contact Child Line

Seek medical attention

The child may be suffering internal injuries that you cannot see. A medical exam can also provide valuable evidence.

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Surviving rape, sexual violence and sex trafficking.

We welcome survivors of all genders, including men and transgender people; races, religions, incomes, languages, abilities, ethnicities and sexual orientations. We serve survivors regardless of immigration status. We will not report to law enforcement or any government officials any information we obtain, except in very limited legal circumstances.

If you are receiving or seeking services at PAAR and need accessibility information, please check out our accessibility page here.

What should I do first?

If you or a child is a victim of sexual violence:

  1. If you are not in a safe place, call 911
  2. Get to a safe place and call PAAR – 1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273)
  3. Go to a hospital emergency department and ask the hospital staff to contact a PAAR in-person advocate to meet you at the hospital 1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273)
  4. Valuable evidence may remain on your or your child’s body or clothing. Try not to bathe, shower, eat, drink, brush your teeth or go to the bathroom before going to the emergency room. Also try not to change your clothes (if you already have, put your clothes in a clean bag and bring them with you to the emergency department)
  5. Contact ChildLine if you suspect child abuse at 1-800-932-0313

Do not confront the abuser or rapist. Leave this to the police.

*UPMC Mercy and Magee Hospitals have 24/7 specially trained nurses for victims

*While you can seek help at any Emergency Department in Allegheny County please note UPMC Mercy and Magee Hospitals have 24/7 specially trained nurses for victims