A child who discloses to you has sought you out and has placed trust in you to listen and take action. Reassure the child that he or she is brave to share this information with you and that you will do everything you can to help.

Do not ask a lot of questions. Leave that to the trained professionals. Make a report of the abuse promptly by contacting your local social services or law enforcement.

Girl being comforted

What Do I Do If a Child Discloses?

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Listen.

Do not fill in words for the child and do not ask probing questions. If the child is having a difficult time talking, don’t help the child with words that you think the child is going to say. Allow the child to tell you in their words or in the normal ways that he or she communicates.
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Reassure.

Tell the child you are glad they told you and that you believe him or her. Let him/her know that was not their fault and reassure the child that they are not in trouble. If the child asks you not to tell anyone, remind the child that it is your job to help keep him or her safe and you will do whatever you may need to do to keep him or her safe.
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Recognize your own feelings.

Don’t express panic or shock or be overly critical of the offender. Children are protective of people they care about, even if they are being abused.
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Report it.

Contact your local law enforcement and or social services to report the abuse.

Evidence that a child has been abused is not always obvious, and many children do not report that they have been abused. Only around 38% of child victims disclose the fact that they have been abused. Of these, 40% tell a close friend rather than an adult or authority, which does not always result in a formal report.

Fabricated abuse reports constitute only 4% to 8% of all reported cases. Most fabricated reports are made by adults involved in custody disputes or by adolescents. (Source: Darkness to Light)

“I couldn’t have gone home with a more relieved feeling. Thank you so much for caring as much as I do!”