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Tips on Talking with Children about Abuse:

Care must be taken to protect the child and honor the courage it takes to disclose. The following are a few guidelines that may help:

  • Allow the child to tell his or her story in their own way, avoiding leading questions.

  • Be objective and non-judgmental in reaction to what the child is saying; most children know their abusers and often have confusing feelings.

  • Assure the child that what happened was not his/her fault.


  • Let the child know you will be talking with other people whose jobs are to help keep children safe (avoid making promises).

  • Use the child's words when reporting to the Department of Children & Families (DCF) and/or the police.


  • Do not investigate yourself. Contact DCF or the police immediately.

  • Tell the child you are glad he/she told someone and let them know you will be available if they want to talk again.

Mother giving a hug
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