How to React If A Child Discloses Their Abuse To You
1. Remain calm and do not force the child to give information. it is very important that a child tells you about their abuse in their own words. You should stay calm and not show emotions like anger or disbelief.
If you ask any questions, keep them very simple:
- Do you know the person that hurt you?
- What is their name?
- What happened?
- When did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
2. Comfort the child and thank them for sharing with you this is an important step for the child, please remember that it is really hard for children to tell about their abuse and it needs to be a positive and supportive experience.
3. Tell them it is not their fault. Abuse is never the child’s fault and they need to know this.
4. Remember a child may only disclose a small portion of information at a time until they see your reaction is calm and supportive. Give them time, and don’t push for information.
5. Do not confront the abuser – this may make the situation worse – Please leave this to the professionals.
6. Please report any abuse immediately to your local child abuse prevention representative, NGO or Police StationBasics on how to report child abuse.
Please tell the child that you are going to write down what they are telling you and that you will be sharing it with someone else that can help them. It is essential to write everything down in the child’s words and report it as soon as possible, it is very easy to forget the exact story if you don’t write it down. This is also very important to have this information if there is a prosecution.
Please report this to your local Child Abuse Prevention Services or Police Station.