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What to say and do if your child tells you they have been abused

Do

  • Allow the child to use his/her words to describe the incident.
  • Assure the child they are not to blame for what happened.
  • Treat the child normally.
  • Take care of the child’s emotional needs.
  • Listen and take notes.
  • Allow the child to talk about the incident if they bring it up.
  • Love and support the child.

Don’t

  • Use your language to help the child describe what happened.
  • Try to interview or investigate.
  • Overreact.
  • Express fear, anger or anxiety.
  • Initiate conversation about the incident.
  • Let personal feelings influence the child.

Act

  • Ensure your child is safe
  • Restrict further contact between your child and the person they have identified
  • Report the abuse to your local police or child protection office
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