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What is the best way to react if my child says they have been abused?

 

A:
Some children don’t come right out and say that they are being abused. They drop “hints.” Whereas other children just tell the whole story leaving nothing to the imagination.

No matter how your child tells you, you must make them feel comfortable and confident enough to confide in you. Here are a few tips to remember.

Remain calm. If you act shocked, your child may realize the gravity of the situation and stop confiding in you and may refuse to talk to anyone.

Listen carefully. Let you child know that you believe whatever he or she is telling you and that you are glad that they feel comfortable enough to talk to you about it.

It’s important to remind your child that it is not his or her fault. Also let your child know that you are not angry with him or her.   

Let your child know that you will do whatever you can do to make sure it stops and that it never happens again. Never make
promises you can’t keep.

Do not discuss the issue with anyone other than your attorney and those people who are helping your child.

Do not pressure your child to tell you details that he or she doesn’t want to tell you. Leave that to the professionals.

If you suspect physical or sexual abuse, take your child to the doctor to be examined. Everything should be documented.

Get counseling for your child. You may also want to consider family counseling. It can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved, including other siblings.       


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney