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What should I do if someone I know is a victim of incest?

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Listen.

  • One of the most important things that you can do for a victim is to listen to their story and believe them!

Help keep the victim safe.

  • This may mean different things depending on who you are and what your relationship is to the victim.
    • There may be legal considerations. Depending on where you live and your role in the victim’s life, you may be required to report their situation to the authorities.
      • Teachers, ministers, counselors and other professionals are often “mandated reporters,” or people who are required by law to report child abuse, including incest.
      • Check RAINN’s mandatory reporting database if you are not sure whether you are required to make a report.
  • Even if you are not a mandated reporter, calling Child Protective Services (CPS) may be the best way you can help protect the victim.
    • You can find the number for CPS in RAINN’s mandatory reporting database. Information is listed by state.
    • CPS workers will be able to investigate the situation in greater detail and take steps to protect the victim.
    • You can make reports to CPS anonymously if you are concerned about the victim’s family knowing who made the report.
  • You may also contact the local police department, particularly if you have concerns about the victim’s safety at the time you find out about the incest.

Follow up.

  • Let the victim know that you still care.
  • Listen! Even after the victim is out of the incest situation, they will still need support.

Remember to take care of yourself! Being involved with an incest situation can be scary or upsetting.


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