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Child Sexual Abuse - Handling a Child’s Disclosure of Abuse

  • Remain calm
  • Provide positive reinforcement and regard for the child
  • Reassure the child he/she did the right thing by telling
  • Don’t investigate, just report to DCFS
  • Provide support and referrals for the victim and their family
  • Withhold judgment
  • It is important to talk about what to do if someone is hurting them or making them fearful at home (tell an adult at school) and what to do if someone is hurting them at school (tell an adult at home).
  • Try to remember specific language used by child. Write it down if and when you can.
  • It is important that kids understand they should never keep a secret about someone else being hurt.
  • It is important that kids understand that adults sometimes make bad decisions and that it is never their fault.
  • Recent research states that only 10% of sexually abused children ever tell anyone.
  • Research also states that a child’s disclosure will often be gradual and come out as “hints”.
  • Disclosure is often delayed. There are situations in which a child doesn’t even realize what has happened to them is wrong.
  • Not all children who are sexually abused will display common symptoms…..this can largely be attributed to the fact that children will go to great lengths to protect the person hurting them.