What should I do if someone I know is a victim of incest?
- 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.
- Let the victim know that you still care.
- Listen! Even after the victim is out of the incest situation, they will still need support.