How to respond to a disclosure of child abuse

Would you know what to do if a child disclosed abuse to you?

 
 

Remain calm and
be strong

Do not let the child see or sense any negative emotions or reactions. An overreaction may traumatize the child.

Be an active
listener

Following your conversation, document all information and details that can be used in an investigation.

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Let the child lead the discussion

Do not fill in any blanks or ask probing and leading questions. Let the child tell you what has happened in their words.

 

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Let the child provide additional details

Thank the child for sharing. Do not risk overwhelming the child or contaminating the evidence by seeking additional details.

Tell the child you
believe them

Reassure the child that they will be supported and kept safe by trusted adults. Thank them for their bravery and tell them that it is not their fault.

Be honest and
upfront

Tell the child that you are going to tell other adults who can keep them safe. Do not promise or assume outcomes, i.e. “the offender is going to jail”.

Practice
self-care

Receiving information regarding child abuse can be difficult. Recognize when you are in need of assistance following
a disclosure.

Report the disclosure to authorities

Please contact us for resources and other additional contacts that will aid you in reporting this case of child abuse. Take a deep breath.