Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors. While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported.
If a child tells YOU about abuse:
Be a good listener. Show that you understand and believe what the child tells you. Encourage, but don’t pressure him/her to talk. Ask open ended questions.
Be supportive. Tell the child he/she did the right thing by coming to you. Stress that he/she is not to blame. Let the child know that you want to help.
Don’t overreact. This can frighten the child or prevent him/her from telling you more. Do not talk negatively about the suspected abuser in front of the child.
Document and report it. Document your conversation as soon as you can. If possible, write down the child’s exact words.
Don’t delay. Never assume someone else will report the abuse. The sooner it’s reported, the sooner the child and their family can be helped.
WHO MUST REPORT ABUSE?