Disclosure and Your Response

If you have a feeling that sexual abuse may be occurring, what can you do?
Step One: Stay calm and ask gentle questions
  In a gentle voice find out what happened. Remember to stay calm and ask simple and direct questions – know that confusion, guilt, and shame of the abuse can create fear for the child. Do not try to conduct an investigation. Trained professionals can talk to the child in a non-threatening way.
Step Two: Listen to the child

 

Listen to what the child is saying to you and listen to what is not said as well. Simple statements such as “I don’t like that babysitter to come over” or “don’t leave me alone with those little kids” should be discussed further. If the child does not give you names, places or dates, do not suggest any.
Step Three: Reassure the child
  Tell the child you believe him or her and you will do whatever you can to keep them safe. However, do not make promises that you cannot keep. The child may not tell you anything the first time. When they do talk to you, tell them they were brave to let you know what was going on and that you will be getting them help.
Step Four: Seek help
  If the child was abused or may be abusing, there is help and support available to you. Contact your county social services office or local law enforcement.
Source: Do Children Sexually Abuse Other Children? Talking With Your Children about Child Sexual Abuse, STOP IT NOW! [Website]
 

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