How do I talk to my child about abuse

Q: HOW DO I TALK TO MY CHILD ABOUT ABUSE?

If a child you know hints, even in a vague way, that abuse has occurred, listen to them. Stay calm. Tell them that you would like to help them. Children frequently report abuse in a piecemeal manner to see how you will react and determine your trustworthiness.  
Following are suggestions for handling a child’s disclosure of abuse:
1. Be patient, calm and supportive. If a child comes to you, sit down and calmly say, "Tell Me About What Happened?".
2. If you notice that a child is acting out, or asks questions that seem advanced, calmly ask them, "What'cha doing ?" or “Where did you hear or learn that?
3. Tell the child that you believe them. Assure the child that they did the right thing in telling.
4. Find out how the child feels physically. Ask if they are hurting anywhere.
5. Watch both your verbal and nonverbal language. Be careful of scaring the child by exhibiting strong emotions, such as anger.
6. Do not question the child extensively or make the child tell more than one person.
7. Don’t introduce or suggest names either of persons or of body parts. Use the child’s terminology. Introducing new words can often cause confusion. Allow the child to tell what happened in their words.   
8. Do not take the law into your own hands and confront the perpetrator or make the child confront the perpetrator. Allow the investigators to determine steps to be taken.
9. Be supportive of the child. Tell them that they are very brave for speaking up and telling someone.
Make a report. Report it IMMEDIATELY. 
Report To:
Local Law Enforcement
Statewide Hotline: 1-800-252-5400
On-line: txabusehotline.org
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