What Should I Do if a Child Tells Me They've Been Abused?
Believe the child
- Believe a child if s/he tells you something. False reporting is a myth - only 3% of children make up claims of abuse. However, children often take back what they say once adults act improperly.
- Remain calm. Assure the child you are listening and what s/he has to say is important.
- Let him/her know that it wasn't his/her fault.
Talk to the child
- Listen - let the child do the talking.
- You can ask if they are ok - be human
- Ask open questions - who, what, where?
- Don't conduct an investigation
- Don't ask leading or suggestive questions. Don't insert the names of an adult you may suspect - let the child do the talking.
- Don't interrupt the child
- Ask simple questions & use simple language
- Avoid questions related to time
- Avoid "why" questions
Report the abuse
- Call 911 or 410-361-2235 or your local agency CLICK HERE for #s
- All investigations are confidential and you can report anonymously
- Collect your facts and write down notes
- When reporting try to have:
- Child's Name
- Age or Date of Birth
- Present Location of Child
- Permanent address
- Caregiver's Name and Address
- Brief description of the allegations
- Let 911 help you - ask them questions if you are confused.