What to Do
The information that you have received is very difficult not only for the child, but for you as well. Your reaction to this information is very important in determining how the family will eventually heal. You need to assure the child that what happened to them is not their fault and that telling was the right thing to do. It is important that you demonstrate by words and actions that you will do everything you can to protect him/her from further abuse. Children need to hear that their behavior was courageous. Although you may be feeling helpless and frightened, the child should not be exposed to these feelings.
- Allow the child to use his/her own words to describe the incident
- Assure the child they are not to be blamed for what happened
- Treat the child normally
- Take care of the child's emotional needs
- Listen and take notes
- Allow the child to talk about the incident if they bring it up
- Write down concerns for CPS, Law Enforcement
- Investigators and Therapists
- Love and support the child
- Use your language to help the child describe what happened
- Try to interview the child or investigate the incident
- Express fear, anger and/or anxiety
- Initiate conversation about the incidents
- Let personal feelings influence the child
- Reward the child for giving information
Report Child Abuse
What Do I Do If I Suspect Abuse?
If a child discloses that he or she has been abused by someone, it is important
that you listen to them most of all.