What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse

Suggestions for handling disclosure include:

  • Find a private place to talk to the child.
  • Do not act surprised or shocked regardless of what information is disclosed. Do not panic.
  • Respond in a relaxed and calm way.
  • Express your belief that the child is telling you the truth.
  • Use the child's vocabulary.
  • Let the child know that he/she is not alone, other children have the same problem.
  • Reassure the child that it is good to tell.
  • Reassure the child that it is okay for him/her to be upset. Let the child know that the abuse was not his/her fault and that he/she is not bad.
  • Determine the child's immediate need for safety.
  • Let the child know that you will do your best to protect and support him/her. Don't make promises that you can't keep.
  • Let the child know what you will do and be honest about what the child can expect to happen.
  • Report to the proper authorities.