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When A Child Discloses Abuse

by Lori S. Kornblum and Daniel Pollack
July/August 2019
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/when-a-child-discloses-abuse/5024828/

You are a teacher, a child care worker, a program administrator, or any other person who has contact with children. One day, you observe a child engaged in highly abnormal sexual play, for example, putting a doll's head close to the child's genital area, or "humping" another child. You know from experience working with children that this is unusual. Perhaps a child hints that they may have been physically or sexually abused. What should you do?

First, keep calm. Do not display exaggerated facial expressions. This may cause the child to shut down. Children often test the waters when they disclose abuse. If the adults around them are calm, the child is more likely to open up about what happened. If the adults around the child react emotionally or forcefully, the child may clam up. You may never find out what happened, and if the child is being abused, you may unwittingly allow the abuse to continue.

Next, find out some basic information. You need only enough information to determine whether you have a "reasonable suspicion" that abuse or neglect occurred. If you work with children, you are likely a mandated reporter. If you have reasonable suspicion, you will need to notify the ...

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