It can be overwhelming and upsetting to think about how you would respond to a disclosure or evidence of abuse, whether it be your child or another child you know. It’s important that when a disclosure is made or evidence is noticed that a report is made to ensure that the child is safe and supported.
- remain calm and in control
- reassure the child that they have done the right thing by telling you
- listen carefully to what the child is telling you
- reassure the child that you believe them
- report exactly what has been disclosed to you as soon as possible (see below for services that can assist you)
- if the child is non-verbal, use writing or drawing to assist them in communicating
- document the facts about the situation in a diary or a secure computer document. This will help to reduce the likelihood of misinterpretation and assist in communicating information
If you believe the child is in immediate danger or a life-threatening situation call 000 and ask for the Police
It is extremely important that you do not:
- push the child to disclose more details than is absolutely necessary
- ask leading questions or attempt to investigate yourself/confront people involved
- ignore the child
It is also important to take care of yourself when responding to abuse. This can be extremely stressful and upsetting for parents and it is important to make sure you are in a good space to be able to provide support.
If you need to, allow yourself to take some time, take a break to process the situation and to calm down before continuing the conversation. See the self-care page for more information about looking after yourself.