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Talking to Your Child About Abuse
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Talking to your Child about Abuse

Empower your child

  • You don’t want to frighten your children, but teach them some basic rules of safety in a nonthreatening manner.
  • Have open communication and emphasize that they will not get in trouble if they tell you about abuse or other confusing events.
  • Emphasize that you need to know this to be able to keep them safe and that they will be OK if they tell you.
  • Instead of teaching him that he’s surrounded by danger, teach him that he is strong, capable, and can count on you to keep him safe, as long as he can tell you about it.
  • Teach him that it is not OK for adults to touch his body if he does not consent or understand what is happening.

What do I do if my child discloses abuse?

  • Let your child know that you love them and are going to do what it takes to help them.
  • REPORT the abuse by calling your local Department of Human Resources or a Law Enforcement Agency.
  • Be calm and reassuring to your child. Let your child know that it is okay to speak to the workers involved in the case.
  • Don’t coach your child on what to say. It is important that your child tells what happened in his/her own words. Encourage your child to tell the truth.
  • Always seek professional guidance before allowing any contact between the offender and your child.
  • Make sure that your child and other supportive family members (including you) receive therapy as soon as possible.
  • Cooperate with the professionals even though at times it may feel like your privacy is being invaded. The information you are being asked to provide is necessary to your child’s case.

Things you can say to help your child

  • I believe you.
  • It's not your fault.
  • I'm glad I know what happened.
  • I will take care of you.
  • I am upset, but not with you.
  • Sometimes we love someone but hate something they did.
  • This has happened to other children; you’re not the only one that something like this has happened to.
  • I'm sorry that this happened.
  • It's okay to cry or be mad; you don't have to keep it inside.