Disclosure of Abuse

What to Do if a Child Tells You They Have Been Abused or Neglected?

  • Be aware of your own feelings and remain calm and nonjudgmental
  • Find a private place to talk with the child
  • Keep the talk brief


  • Let the child do the talking
  • Let the child tell you, in their own words, what happened
  • Give the child your undivided attention
  • Ask for clarification if the child uses words that are not familiar
  • Acknowledge the child’s feelings
  • Take notes and try to report quotes from the child


  • Interrogate the child
  • Probe or press for answers
  • Suggest answers
  • Interrupt their story
  • Ask “why” questions
  • Ask leading questions (such as yes or no questions).