What do I do if my child discloses abuse?
- Reassure your child they are not in trouble.
- Try to keep your emotions in check. Children need to know they are not the reason for your anger, sadness, or disbelief.
- Don’t expect or tell the child to forget it.
- Don’t say it can’t be or I don’t believe it.
- Don’t restrict your child’s activities or movements more than necessary. For example, if you refuse to allow them to play in the yard, they may feel they are being punished.
How do I respond if my child discloses abuse?
- I believe you and I’m glad you told me.
- This has happened to other kids, I’m glad you told me.
- I’ll do my best to protect you now that I know.
- I’m upset, but not with you.
How do I prepare for my visit?
- Tell your child they will be visiting a house to talk with someone whose job it is to talk to kids/teenagers.
- Give your child permission to talk to an interviewer.
- Tell your child it is a safe place to talk about anything, even if they have never talked to you about it.
- Don’t ask your child about the accusation.
- Tell your child what to say.
- Promise treats or rewards for talking.
- Try to answer questions you don't have the answer to.
- Don't ask why they didn't tell sooner.
- Alert the offender about the disclosure. Contact your local police department or the Department of Children and Family Services.
What do I tell my child about the Center?
Children get tired of answering questions. Please don't question them before coming to the Center. Tell them the Children's Advocacy Center is a safe place for children to talk about what happened. You can tell them many children come to the Center and it is ok to talk to them there .
What can I do for my child?
Your child will need you to listen and respect his/her feelings. All children express themselves differently with words, feelings and behaviors. If you notice any changes in your child, your child may be seeking help from you. It may be hard for your child to talk with you about things that are very personal, painful, embarrassing or upsetting to them. Remember, your child's feelings are normal. Also be open to allowing your child to talk with other adults in the community such as a counselor or therapist.
How can I get through this?
Anytime a child is harmed, it is difficult for the family. It is best to express your own feelings without confusing or frightening your child. You can tell your child that you are angry or upset about what happened to him or her, but that you are not angry or upset with your child. It may help you to talk about your own feelings with adults who will listen. You and your family may find counseling helpful at this time. Our Center contracts with a therapist, that comes to our Center, who utilizes Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT).
What is TF-CBT and how can it help my child and family?
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. Research shows that TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple and complex trauma experiences. Early trauma can lead to guilt, anger, feelings of powerlessness, self-abuse, acting out behavior, and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. TF-CBT is a short-term intervention that generally lasts anywhere from 8-25 sessions. Cognitive behavioral techniques are used to help modify distorted or unhelpful thinking and negative reactions and behaviors. At the same time, a family therapy approach looks at interactions among family members and other family dynamics that are contributing to the problem and aims to teach new parenting, stress-management, and communication skills.