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2002 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 7, No. 2
May 2002

If a Child Discloses Sexual Abuse

If a child discloses sexual abuse, the listener should:

  • Be aware of one's own feelings, and remain calm and nonjudgmental.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Keep the talk brief by not "interrogating" the child, asking questions only to clarify them.
  • Use language the child can understand.
  • Let the child know he or she is believed.
  • Reassure the child that he or she is not to blame for what happended and that he or she was right to tell about it.
  • Explain to the child what will happen next in the reporting process.

Source: North Carolina Department of Justice Child Sexual Abuse Guidelines: Recommendations for Professionals, Chapter 1, SOCIAL SERVICES: CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES,