Responding to suspicion or disclosure of child sexual abuse What should I do if a child tells me or if I think they have b...
If you have suspicions that a child may be being sexually abused: <ul><li>Be aware of all internal policies and procedures...
If you have suspicions that a child may be being sexually abused: <ul><li>Have gentle, non-judgmental discussions with the...
If you have suspicions that a child may be being sexually abused: <ul><li>Seek expert advice by ringing the Department or ...
If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Try to remain calm - do not express shock, panic or disbeli...
If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Stress that what has happened is not their fault – say 'You...
If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Do not make promises you can't keep, for example promising ...
If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Do not contact the abuser, regardless of who that person is...
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Responding to suspicion or disclosure of child sexual

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Responding to suspicion or disclosure of child sexual

  1. 1. Responding to suspicion or disclosure of child sexual abuse What should I do if a child tells me or if I think they have been sexually abused? Adapted from material found at: http://www.families.qld.gov.au/projectaxis/orgbooklet/suspicion.html (Accessed 16/3/04)
  2. 2. If you have suspicions that a child may be being sexually abused: <ul><li>Be aware of all internal policies and procedures that tell you how to respond to your concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>Be alert to any warning signs that may indicate a child is experiencing or is at risk of abuse. </li></ul><ul><li>Observe the child and make written notes as soon as you begin to have concerns. Pay attention to body cues such as changes in their behaviour, ideas, feelings, and words they use. </li></ul>
  3. 3. If you have suspicions that a child may be being sexually abused: <ul><li>Have gentle, non-judgmental discussions with the child; for example expressing your concern that a child looks sad or unwell can result in disclosures. Do not pressure the child to respond and do not ask questions that put words into a child's mouth. </li></ul><ul><li>It is not unusual for a child to deny that anything is wrong, as this is a natural way of coping when something may be overwhelming. </li></ul><ul><li>Assure the child that they can come and talk to you when he/she needs to and listen when they do. </li></ul>
  4. 4. If you have suspicions that a child may be being sexually abused: <ul><li>Seek expert advice by ringing the Department or support services to talk through your concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that child abuse does not go away and usually becomes more serious over time. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember not acting on a disclosure may in fact result in a child being further abused. </li></ul>
  5. 5. If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Try to remain calm - do not express shock, panic or disbelief. </li></ul><ul><li>Find a private place to talk. </li></ul><ul><li>Be a listener not an investigator - encourage children to talk in their language and ask just enough questions to act protectively – say 'can you tell me more about that?'. Do not conduct any form of interview with the child. Remember not acting on a disclosure may in fact result in a child being further abused. </li></ul><ul><li>Reassure the child that they have done the right thing by telling you. </li></ul>
  6. 6. If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Stress that what has happened is not their fault – say 'You are not in trouble' and 'If I look or sound upset it is because adults want children to feel safe'. </li></ul><ul><li>Check your tone of voice, and help children make sense of what you are feeling – say 'I am feeling concerned for you. What we can do right now is talk about ways to help you to feel safer'. </li></ul><ul><li>Act protectively – say 'You know some people do wrong things. It is up to grown ups to protect children. Every child has a right to be safe, we have laws in Victoria to help protect children'. </li></ul>
  7. 7. If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Do not make promises you can't keep, for example promising you will not tell anyone, as you need to tell someone in order to get help for the child. </li></ul><ul><li>Inform your manager, or management committee or the licensee of the service immediately to develop a plan of action. </li></ul><ul><li>If the alleged offender is a staff member alert your manager for referral to the appropriate authorities. </li></ul>
  8. 8. If a child tells you they are being abused you should: <ul><li>Do not contact the abuser, regardless of who that person is, leave this to the Police. </li></ul><ul><li>It is advisable not to contact the parent, until the plan of action has been developed in conjunction with management. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep information confidential. Only those who absolutely need to know should be told at this point. </li></ul><ul><li>Adapted from: </li></ul><ul><li>Families, Youth and Community Care Queensland (FYCCQ). 2000, Child Abuse Prevention Public Speaking Kit , FYCCQ, Brisbane. </li></ul><ul><li>Fact sheet prepared by the Sexual Abuse Counselling Service titled ' Child Sexual Abuse: Incidence and Impact ', June 2003. </li></ul>
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