- What is Child Abuse?
- Infant and Child Safety Tips
- Research and Publications
- Child Abuse Reporting
If a Child Comes to YouIf a Child Comes to You...
- Your job is to simply report what the child tells you, not to investigate the situation.
Attempts to investigate may:
- Tip off the perpetrator and cause them to flee or destroy evidence.
- Cause a child to retract if they think you don't believe them.
- Reassure the child that they did the right thing by telling you and they are not to blame
- Don't promise them that you won't "tell"
- Tell the child that what you plan to do to help protect them
- Talk with the child if they need to vent - be ready to listen and be supportive
- Be respectful of the child's need for, or dislike of touching while trying to comfort them…do so with caution and only with the child's permission
- Consider helping the child get professional counseling
- Mandated Reporters are not required by law to tell the parent/caretaker that a report has been made.
- However, one should keep in mind that parents/caretakers are not always the perpetrators and may not be aware that their child exhibits signs of abuse.
- Find a place to help with your feelings too.
Age Factors to Consider for Preschool Age Children
- At higher risk for serious injury.
- Stories are generally truthful.
- Don't know abuse is serious…their value of right and wrong is based on family behavior.
Age Factors to Consider for School Age and Teen Children
- More prone to self-report abuse.
- More aware of "normal" family behavior due to exposure to other families.
- Tend to be protective of substance abuse parents or caretakers - role reversal.
- Sexual abuse is often disclosed when family incest interferes with normal teenage relationships.
- Disclosure of abuse may have a "hidden agenda" such as revenge or anger towards parent or caretaker.