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: