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Know the signs

Some more ideas for helping a child are:

  • Regardless of how shocking a child's statements might be, maintain your openness and composure. Never appear shocked at what the child says.
  • Be careful not to express a negative or discrediting attitude toward a child's parents.
  • Do not assure a child that he/she will not have to leave home.
  • Do not share with the child (or the child’s parents/caregivers) that you plan to make a report until you’ve had a chance to talk with OCS and/or law enforcement. In some situations sharing that information can jeopardize both the case and the child’s safety. 

Avoid making promises to the child (for example, "It will be all better!")

Always remember: You are responsible for reporting, OCS and law enforcement are responsible for investigating. Establishing and investigating abuse and neglect is the responsibility of the Office of Children's Services and/or the law enforcement agency in your area. You need only have a reason to suspect that abuse or neglect has occurred to report. Your role will be to serve the child as a supportive resource throughout any investigation that might occur.

How to Support the Child

In this video an OCS worker discusses the importance of supporting the child victim after the child has disclosed regarding abuse. It is important to believe and be supportive. The best way to support a child who has disclosed abuse is to encourage their participation in normal healthy activities, to listen if the child feels the need to talk, and to be there for the child.

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