Child Abuse & Protection

Reporting Abuse

Immediate Danger

If you know or suspect that a child is in immediate danger (such as a recent sexual assault or a serious physical assault) or the child is abandoned, call 911, Winona County at 507-457-6368, or your local law enforcement agency right away. Report the child's name, age, and address or school, the reason for the report, and any other pertinent information you have. If known, report the alleged offender and relationship with the child, parents' names, address, and telephone number.

Not in Immediate Danger

To report suspected abuse or neglect of a child living in Winona County, please call 507-457-6500. You may also send us an email. The identity of the reporter will be treated as confidential information.

Voluntary / Mandated Reporting

Voluntary Reporting

Anyone may voluntarily report suspected child abuse or neglect. Persons who work with children or families are legally required to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Mandated Reporting

Minnesota law mandates that any person whose job involves working professionally with children and who has reason to believe that a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused shall immediately report the suspected incident to local police or child protection agency. A verbal report must be made within 24 hours. A written report must be sent within 72 hours of the verbal report Mandated Reporter Follow-up Report (PDF).

For more information on mandated reporting, please read A Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters (PDF).

When a Child Reports Abuse

First of all, be calm. Let the child tell you in his or her own words. Leave questioning about details to authorities. Tell the child he/she is not in trouble and that it was the right thing to tell you about what happened. Let the child know you are going to get help. Report what the child told you to law enforcement or Winona County Child Protection.

Liability & Anonymity

Under Minnesota law, you are immune from liability if the report was made in good faith. If a report to authorities is made in good faith, Minnesota Statute 626.556, Subdivision 4, protects them with immunity from liability. Your identity is not disclosed unless you consent, or the court orders disclosure upon a showing the report was false and made in bad faith, or court rules require disclosure in a criminal proceeding.