What to do if a child tells you about abuse.
An adult’s reaction to a child’s telling about abuse is very important. If this disclosure is handled with support and care, the child will know that it was right to break the silence and have the chance to feel safe again.
- Believe the child. Children rarely lie about abuse.
- Praise the child for having the courage to tell you.
- Reassure the child that he/she did nothing wrong and say, “It’s not your fault.” Stay calm. Children depend on adults to be strong.
- Even non-verbal reactions can affect how a child feels.
- Be supportive. Tell the child that you will do whatever you can to help.
*Remember what the child needs most from you is support. Ask only limited, open-ended questions, and let the child use his/her own words.
- Show feelings of shock or horror
- Interrogate the child
- Correct a child’s words about what happened
- Criticize the child, family, or even the abuser
- Make promises that you may not be able to keep
REPORT the abuse, even if you do not have all of the facts.
If the abuse has occured within the family, Call the Child Protection Hotline: (225) 925-4571.
If the abuse has occured outside of the family, Call the Baton Rouge Police Department: (225) 389-2000 or the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office: (225) 389-5000.
When you call, you will be given detailed instructions on how to file a report.