Child Abuse Prevention Center
Preventing child abuse in all its forms
Helping the Abused Child
An abused child needs reassurance that he/she is a worthwhile person and has done nothing wrong. It is important to be there for the child and help him/her realize the abuse is not their fault.
1. Security: The child needs to know that he or she can trust you. A child needs to be made sure that his or her disclosure will not be made public and they need to know that you will not abandon them.
2. Structure: The child needs routine. It provides for a sense of sercurity.
3. Consistency and Predictability: The child needs to know that you have expectations of them and what the expectations are in advance. Be consistent in your relationship with the child.
4. Identity: Share positive feedback concerning the child with the child to develop a positive self-image.
5. Sense of Belonging: Help the student become part of the group. Praise and encourage involvement in any group activity.
6. Approval: Smile, Encourage, Praise, Recognize.
7. Help in Expressing Feelings: Help the child talk about his/her feelings if the child would like to do so.
8. Provide a Positive Role Model: By positive modeling, you can help alter a child's self-concept.
9. Reassurance: That you are there for the child as a sounding board.
Possible Reasons Why Children Do Not Disclose Abuse
Victim's feelings of shame and guilt toward mother and/or father and family.
Fear of adults; lack of trust (anyone): Who will beleive them?
Threats to the child, such as "I'll hurt you."
Passive behavior, low value of self, feel that he/she will be branded.
Lack of awareness that this form of sexual behavior is innapropriate.
Fear of being removed from their home and losing their family.
Alienation from the rest of the family.
Social isolation of family, socially deprived.
Dependency of victim, no ego development.
Suggestions for Responding to Disclosure
Find a private place to talk with the child.
Do not panic or express shock.
Express your belief that the child is telling you the truth.
Use the child's vocabulary.
Reassure the child that it is good to tell.
Reassure the child that it is not his/her fault.
Determine the child's immediate need for safety.
Let the child know that you will do your best to protect and support him/her.
Report the abuse to proper authorities.