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Being a Safe Adult When a Child Discloses Abuse

Being a Safe Adult When a Child Discloses Abuse

Knowing how to respond when a child discloses harm is essential as a trusted, safe adult in a child’s life. Whether it’s abuse, neglect, or something else, it’s crucial to be a safe and supportive presence for the child. It can be difficult to know where to start – we’ve got you covered with these six tips.

Six Tips for When A Child Discloses Abuse

1. Listen without judgment

When a child comes to you and discloses abuse, it’s important to listen without judgment. Let them tell their story in their own words without interrupting or questioning them too much. It can be difficult to hear about harm done to someone you care about, but staying calm and focused on the child’s needs is important.

2. Believe the child

One of the most important things you can do when a child discloses harm is to believe them. Children are often afraid to speak up, especially if the person harming them is someone they know and trust. By believing them, you can help them feel heard and validated.

3. Reassure the child that they are not at fault

If a child blames themselves when harm is done to them. As a safe adult, it’s important to reassure the child that they are not at fault and that they did nothing wrong. Let them know you are there to support and help them through this difficult time.

4. Report the harm to the appropriate authorities

As a safe adult, it’s your responsibility to report any harm to the appropriate authorities. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to call child protective services or law enforcement. Make sure to follow the proper procedures for reporting, and don’t try to take matters into your own hands. Learn how to report child abuse here.

5. Provide ongoing support

After a child discloses harm, it’s important to provide ongoing support. Let the child know they can come to you anytime for help or support. Sometimes, it can be helpful to identify a therapist, connect them and/or caregivers with resources, or simply be there to listen and support them. A good place to start is by findings your nearest children’s advocacy center (CAC).

6. Take care of yourself

When a child discloses harm, it can be emotionally difficult for the safe adult as well. It’s important to take care of yourself and seek support if you need it. This could include talking to a therapist, connecting with other safe adults, or simply taking time for self-care.

Body Safety Resources

Children can learn about their bodies, safety, and consent from an early age. Learn more about simple body safety rules you can teach the young ones in your life.

Remember, Kids Need Your Help to Stay Safe

In conclusion, being a safe adult when a child discloses harm is crucial. By listening without judgment, believing the child, reassuring them that they are not at fault, reporting the harm to the appropriate authorities, providing ongoing support, and taking care of yourself, you can be a supportive and safe presence for the child in their time of need. Remember, it’s never too late to help a child who has experienced harm, and your support can make all the difference in their healing process.