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Educate & Advocate

When a Child Discloses

From the moment a child discloses abuse, it is important to reduce further trauma as much as possible. Whether you are a teacher, a parent or caregiver, a camp counselor, or a youth director, your reaction to the disclosure can make a big difference. Following are a few simple DOs and DON’Ts.

Disclosure DOs
  • DO comfort and reassure the child.
  • DO seek emergency medical care.
  • DO keep the child separated from the alleged perpetrator.
  • DO record, make notes, or otherwise memorialize the exact words the child uses to disclose alleged abuse.
  • DO contact DHS immediately–always and without exception (1-800-522-3511).
  • DO be prepared to provide all readily available information concerning the child’s family, nature of the disclosure, or reasonable suspicion.
Disclosure DON’Ts
  • DON’T conduct an interview with the child. Take an initial statement from the parent, outcry witness, or eyewitness without the child present.
  • DON’T force the child to repeat the disclosure to other adults.
  • DON’T inform the alleged perpetrator of the accusation or the identity of the alleged abuse victim.
  • DON’T overreact, be judgmental, or become emotional or angry in the presence of the child.
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