Disclosing & Reporting
What to Do When Child Abuse is Suspected
When a child comes forward to talk about abuse, you should:
1. Talk to the child in private.
- the child has confided in you and may not feel comfortable telling others.
- a comfortable setting, where no other individuals may intrude, should be chosen.
2. Always believe the child.
- it is very difficult for a child to disclose abuse because most struggle with the desire to protect their abuser.
- in cases of sexual abuse, the child is often bound by secrecy which is imposed by the abuser.
3. Listen to the child calmly.
- set your own feelings aside.
- do not demonstrate feelings of shock or strong reactions.
- do not rush the conversation.
4. Reassure them that they are not to blame.
- let the child know that s/he is right to tell about the abuse – reassure the child that you will do everything you can to help them and, in order to do so, you must contact someone else.
5. Contact the social services or the local police.
- The social services will provide protection to the child as well as counselling and financial support to both the child and family.
Always believe the child.
To report suspected child abuse, contact:
- local social services,
- any RCMP detachment or local police service,
- Kids Help Line/Jeunesse, J'écoute 1-800-668-6868
Published by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Public Affairs and Information Directorate for Community, Contract and Aboriginal Policing Services Directorate.
© Minister of Supply and Services Canada (1995).