Sexual abuse is incredibly underreported. It’s estimated that less than 20% of sexual abuse victims actually report their abuse. So we created this short guide to reporting sexual abuse in order to answer the many questions victims and their families have about the process of reporting their abuse. We know this is not an easy thing to do. You may be scared or embarrassed, you might not think what you experienced was sexual abuse, or you might fear hurting someone’s reputation. But reporting sexual abuse is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and others from being hurt again.
If you or someone you know has ever experienced sexual abuse, use the following guide to help you properly and safely report it:
How to File a Sexual Abuse Report
You have three main choices when it comes to formally report sexual abuse:
- Calling 911 is the best option if your abuse was recent or you feel that you are in immediate danger. Law enforcement will quickly come to you and help.
- Contact your local police department by either calling or visiting in person. You can do this directly after the abuse occurs or several days, weeks, months, or years later. Most police stations have staff on hand who are trained to work with victims of sexual abuse.
- See a doctor by visiting a hospital or health clinic for the treatment of injuries experienced because of sexual abuse. You can also choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam (also known as a rape kit).
To get more detailed support in reporting your sexual abuse, you can always utilize the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. They will walk you through the different steps of reporting abuse and guide you through your options.
Whatever the circumstances, it’s always better to report your abuse than to not report it. You will be doing a huge service for yourself and others.
Reporting Abuse Years Later
Just because your abuse may have happened years ago does not necessarily mean that you can no longer report it. You can always report a case of sexual abuse to the police. However, several states have laws and regulations about filing charges years later. These are called statutes of limitations. If your state has extended or suspended the statute of limitations, you may be able to file charges and make your abuser pay for what they’ve done. The statute of limitations for sexual abuse is different for every state. Use this link to find out more about the statute of limitations laws in your state.
Reporting Abuse Anonymously
To make it easier to report sexual abuse, several police departments across the country have implemented anonymous reporting systems to give victims more privacy and a higher sense of security. This process is usually done using an Anonymous Sexual Assault Form. Check with your local police department to see if this is a service they offer.
Get the Justice You Deserve
Reporting sexual abuse can be a difficult thing to do, but it is surely the right thing to do. Not only can it be an immense sort of relief for victims, but it can also protect other people from falling victim to sexual abuse by the same assailant.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse and is looking for help with reporting or filing charges, call our office at 602-955-0055 for a free case review.
Tags: Reporting Sexual Abuse