The goals of any effective response to suspected abuse are to:
- Protect the child from further abuse
- Stop the offender's abuse
- Heal the victim's brokenness
- Restore the
family, or if not possible, help victims to mourn the loss of family relationships
Anyone may report suspected child abuse and will not be liable for an unfounded
report if it is made in good faith. In every state and province, persons in helping
professions teachers, doctors, counselors, police officers, social workers, health
professionals are legally mandated to report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect
to child abuse authorities.
In some U.S. states, ordained ministers, priests and rabbis are exempt from this
statutory requirement. People serving in a pastoral role, however, are strongly
encouraged to report suspected child abuse regardless of statutory requirements.
In Canada, most provinces require clergy to report, and some denominations in Canada
require their clergy to report regardless of civil mandates. Learn the specifics
of the law by calling the state or provincial attorney general's office.
Religious leaders should not attempt to gather detailed evidence from the person
who discloses. The children's protective services agency will investigate and determine
the level of risk to the child.