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Why don’t children tell adults that they are being abused?

 

A:

Child abuse is a difficult thing to understand and it is especially difficult for the child who is being abused. Children are often scared to tell anyone—even their own parents—that they are being abused by someone. Whether a child is being sexually abused, physically abused, or emotionally abused, he or she will likely find it difficult to talk about what is happening to them.

Disclosure is a scary thing for child abuse victims in Florida and nationwide. This generally is because they are told by their abuser not to tell anyone. Sometimes their abuser will threaten them, causing child abuse victims to live in fear that their abuser will hurt them or their families. Other times, children do not disclose because they think their parents will be upset with them and they will get in trouble or be blamed for what happened. And still other children do not disclose abuse because they fear not being believed. Many children worry that they will be taken away from their family or that they will disrupt the family, especially if the abuser is a family member or friend of the family. Although children cannot fully process this difficult situation, they often feel shame or guilt.

When children do disclose the abuse to someone, it is usually delayed—sometimes weeks, months, or years after the abuse occurred. Also, children do not usually talk about all the details, and they do not use the word “abuse.” Parents need to be aware of this. Generally when children have been abused, they will say “someone hurt me” and tell a piece of the story.

For more information about handling a child abuse disclosure situation, you should speak with a professional counselor who helps child abuse victims. Also, if you would like to find out about your family’s rights to pursuing justice through the legal system, call the Mallard Law Firm to speak with a Sarasota child abuse lawyer today in a confidential, complimentary consultation at 888-409-3805.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney