Help for Victims of Sexual Abuse
The victims of sexual molestation often feel as though they are completely alone. We are here to tell you that you are not alone. If you have been sexually molested, we encourage you to call the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at (800) 656-HOPE to be connected to the sexual assault crisis center nearest you.
If you know of a child that is being sexually abused, you need to report it immediately. Find the nearest agency to call with our database of where to report child molestation.
Reporting Intrafamilial Sexual Abuse
Intrafamilial sexual abuse is sexual abuse that takes place within a family unit (e.g., between a father and daughter, uncle and nephew, or grandparent and grandchild).
We typically cannot represent victims of intrafamilial sex abuse. For more information on intrafamilial sexual abuse, read this guide from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Although it may be difficult, it is critical to notify law enforcement when your child discloses sexual abuse, regardless of who the perpetrator is.
Bringing a Civil Lawsuit Against an Institution
Our attorneys represent victims of sex abuse in civil lawsuits against institutions such as schools, religious organizations, and sports teams.
To learn more about the difference between civil lawsuits and criminal trials, click here. If you were a victim of sexual abuse that took place in a public or private institution, contact Estey & Bomberger today to discuss your rights.
Child Advocacy Center Locator Map
Find a child advocacy center near you with this interactive map.
Reporting Child Sex Abuse in California
Victims and Their Families/Friends
We have provided contact information for the relevant department to which child sexual abuse should be reported in each of California’s 58 counties below.
Note: If you feel that a victim is in immediate danger, always call 911 first before making any other type of report.
Contra Costa County
Del Norte County
El Dorado County
S. Lake Tahoe
Los Angeles County
San Benito County
After Hours Police
San Bernardino County
After Hours Police
San Diego County
San Francisco County
San Joaquin County
San Luis Obispo County
San Mateo County
Santa Barbara County
Santa Clara County–North
Santa Cruz County
24 Hour Hot Line
In most states, mandated reporters are generally those individuals who have regular contact with vulnerable people such as children, disabled persons, and senior citizens. Mandated reporters are legally required to report (or to cause a report to be made) when abuse is observed or suspected. To learn more about who must report suspected child abuse or neglect (including sexual abuse) in each state, visit our child molestation laws page.
In California, medical care professionals, teachers and school employees, clergy members, film and photo processors, foster parents, therapists and counselors, and individuals providing services to minors are considered mandated reporters. In addition, any other person who reasonably suspects that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect may make a report. A complete list of mandated reporters in California can be found in California Pen. Code § 11165.7(a).
FAQ’s About Reporting Child Sex Abuse in California
Below we address some common questions and concerns about reporting suspected child sex abuse in California:
Q: What is a “reasonable suspicion” that abuse or neglect has occurred?
This phrase is commonly understood to mean that it is reasonable for a person to suspect abuse or neglect based on the information he or she has, as well as his or her training or experience. It does not require certainty that child abuse or neglect has occurred or a specific medical indication of abuse or neglect.
Q: What type of conduct is reportable?
Per the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, the following types of child abuse or neglect must be reported by any mandated reporter:
- Physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means. [CANRA § 11165.6]
- Sexual abuse, meaning child sexual assault or sexual exploitation of a child. [CANRA § 11165.1]
- Neglect, meaning the negligent treatment, lack of treatment, or the maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare. [CANRA § 11165.3]
- Willful harming or injuring or endangering a child, meaning a situation in which any person inflicts, or willfully causes or permits a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or causes or permits a child to be placed in a situation in which the child or child’s health is endangered. [CANRA § 11165.3]
- Unlawful corporal punishment or injury willfully inflicted on a child and resulting in a traumatic condition. [CANRA § 11165.4]
Q: What information must a mandated reporter disclose?
This question is best addressed by reviewing the Suspected Child Abuse Report form designed by the California Attorney General, available here.
Q: I’m not technically a Mandated Reporter, but I do have a reasonable suspicion of child sexual abuse to report. What should I do?
The California Penal Code requires any person who reasonably believes he or she has observed murder, rape, or certain lewd or lascivious acts where the victim is a child under the age of 14 years to notify a peace officer (such as a county sheriff) of the potential crime. This reporting mandate applies whether or not the witness is a mandated reporter.
Speak with a child sex abuse attorney to learn your rights
If you suspect that your child, or a child you know has endured abuse, we implore you to err on the side of caution, and use the resources above to report the abuse.
If you know that your child, or a child you know, has been the victim of sexual molestation or abuse, please contact Estey & Bomberger today. We offer complimentary consultations regarding your rights.
Our attorneys for victims of molestation handle claims not just against perpetrators, but against the organizations and entities responsible for preventing the devastating consequences of child sexual abuse. To speak with a legal representative now, please call 1-800-925-0723.