Reporting suspected or known child abuse is a brave act that may prevent a child from being harmed or even save a child’s life. Any concerned individual who suspects or knows that a child is being threatened, abused or neglected needs to report that information to child protective services or law enforcement (see below).
A report of alleged child maltreatment may be made by anyone. Voluntary reports come from family, friends, neighbors and other caring community members. Mandated reporting is a federal and statutory requirement for specific professionals and service providers, including but not limited to schools, medical staff, law enforcement, and social workers, who are legally bound to make a report when maltreatment or threatened harm to a child is suspected or confirmed. Reporters do not have to prove or personally witness the maltreatment. The law is very clear – reports should also be made when abuse or neglect is suspected or where there is a threat that maltreatment may occur unless action is taken (Wis. Stat. 48.981(3)).
Child abuse is sometimes visible, such as physical abuse that results in bruising or broken bones. Neglect may be evident when a vulnerable child is left unsupervised or when a parent has mental health or substance abuse issues that render him or her incapable of basic parenting. Other types of abuse such as emotional and sexual abuse are not as easily detected. All types of child abuse leave deep, lasting scars. The earlier children receive help, the greater chance they have to heal. A report from a caring and concerned citizen or professional is often the first step in helping to protect a child and assist a family in need.
When parents or other caregivers are unable or unwilling to protect their children, Wisconsin county and tribal agencies can step in and provide a full spectrum of services. First and foremost, child safety is assessed and managed. A team of caring and skilled professionals will work closely with the family to assess their strengths and needs. The family is connected to services and resources, with the team supporting them every step along the way.
If you are concerned about a child’s safety, please contact the local county child protective services or law enforcement agency listed below.
Child Protective Services
|Walworth County Health and Human Services||262-741-3200|
|Bloomfield Police Department||262-279-3454|
|City of Burlington Police Department||262-342-1100|
|Delavan Police Department||262-728-6311|
|Town of Delavan Police Department||262-728-8787|
|Town of East Troy Police Department||262-642-3700|
|Village of East Troy Police Department||262-642-6280|
|City of Elkhorn Police Department||262-723-2210|
|Village of Fontana Police Department||262-275-2275|
|Town of Geneva Police Department||262-248-9926|
|Village of Genoa City Police Department||262-279-6252|
|City of Lake Geneva Police Department||262-248-4455|
|Town of Linn Police Department||262-275-6194|
|Village of Mukwonago Police Department||262-363-6434|
|Village of Sharon Police Department||262-736-4617|
|Walworth County Sheriff’s Office||262-741-4400|
|Village of Walworth Police Department||262-275-6585|
|Whitewater Police Department||262-473-0555|
|UW Whitewater Campus Police||262-472-4660|
|Village of Williams Bay Police Department||262-245-2710|