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What to Do if Your Child Discloses Abuse

Child abuse happens in secrecy and isolation, so as a parent or caregiver it is important to be prepared if the children we love are in need of help. Resources are available to assist you in taking action. Learn what steps to take if you suspect that your child is being abused or they disclose abuse.

Follow These Steps

  • Tell the child that you believe them and you are glad they told you.
  • If the child is in immediate danger or is at risk of coming into contact with the alleged abuser, call 911.
  • Contact your county social service agency to make a report. If you’re in Minnesota, click the link below to contact your local human services office. Otherwise, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at (1-800) 422-4453.
  • Remember: it is not your job to investigate or to confront an alleged abuser.  The information you need to make a report are the basics regarding what happened and who allegedly hurt the child.
To report a suspicion of child abuse, contact your local human services office.

How to Support Your Child

It might be difficult to know what to say to your child about this situation. There is no perfect answer, but we recommend the following:

  • Tell them you are glad they confided in you.
  • Try not to make promises about what will happen next.
  • Let the child know that you are there to help them be safe.
  • Reassure the child that the abuse is not their fault

We also encourage you to start teaching your children about body safety from an early age. To learn more about how to talk about this topic in a developmentally appropriate way, visit the Darkness to Light website.

The Minnesota Children’s Alliance is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the care and investigation of sexual abuse and assault against children and at-risk adults.
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