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Handling Disclosures

When a child discloses an experience of abuse, remember these points: 

  • Reassure the child that it is okay to tell what happened.
  • Tell the child what to expect.  If you don’t know, say so, but let the child know that she/he has your support.
  • Project a calm, understanding and supportive attitude to the child.
  • If possible, call in a support team in attending to the child’s needs.  
  • Avoid having the child repeat his/her explanation to different members of the support team.
  • Let the child know that you must tell authorities to get help, but you will tell only those who need to know and that each of them will keep her/his story confidential. 
  • Reassure the child that it is not her/his fault.
  • Trust your gut feelings.
  • Understand the importance of early reporting.
  • Remember that anyone, especially an educator, who reports “in good faith” is protected from civil liability.
  • Respect the child’s privacy by not discussing the situation outside the school or the center.  
  • Remember that reporting is merely a request for an investigation into a suspected case of abuse. 
  • After reporting, it is important to maintain a supportive presence for the child.

Read more about Handling Disclosures:

Handling Disclosures of Abuse and Neglect 

Helping a Child: Handling Disclosures 

Skills for Educators: Guidelines for Handling Disclosures of Child Sexual Abuse 

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183690
Last updated July 2014

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