Reporting International Child Abuse to the FBI

The FBI investigates crimes against children, and crimes by or against U.S. citizens overseas. The FBI has about 15,000 agents, in the U.S. and also in our embassies around the world. The FBI also works closely with other law enforcement agencies, using Memoranda of Understanding (MOU). The FBI has a good relationship with most local jurisdictions as well, since part of its mandate is to train state and local agencies. Therefore, it may be a viable route for filing child abuse reports.

Why Report to the FBI?

There are several reasons for reporting to the FBI about a suspected crime, such as child abuse, that happened overseas.

First, the FBI may investigate a reported crime under a federal law such as the U.S. Protect Act. The FBI’s expansive database, long history of service, and broad mandate to identify and investigate different types of crimes, puts it in a unique position to respond to reports of illegal activities.

Second, it can be useful to get a person entered into the FBI database. This will allow the information to be matched with information from others, whether past, present or future. It will be most useful to provide a name with contact information. If there are other allegations, this can be helpful.

How to Report

Here are some practical steps on how to report.

You can call the FBI Call Center at 800-CALLFBI (located in West Virginia, and manned 24-7). The Call Center will write up an Intake Report and route it to the appropriate field office. The call takers are generally not special agents, however.

In an emergency, you can call the local field office in your state. Especially if it is not an emergency, you are likely to be transferred to the Call Center. You can find local FBI phone numbers at

To submit a report online, go to This takes you to information about contact forms.


Thanks to Sherry Rice, of SCR International, a retired FBI investigator, for the information found in this Tip. You can contact Sherry at

Featured Image: Sherry Rice

Because of the generality of the information on this site, it may not apply to a given place, time, or set of facts. It is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations