What You Need To Know
If a child or youth indicates or discloses abuse, or if you suspect child abuse, please contact your local Family & Children’s Service or Children’s Aid or your regional police service. In Waterloo Region, the child or youth, and family, may be referred to the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre
According to Ontario’s Child & Family Services Act (CFSA), members of the public and professionals who work with children have an obligation to report promptly to a children’s aid society if they suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection. You do not need to be sure that a child is or is not in need of protection to make a report. http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/english/documents/topics/childrensaid/Reportingchildabuseandneglect.pdf
Here are a number of things you can do if a child tells you that he/she has been abused.
Control your emotions:
- You may be feeling a mix of emotions: fear, panic, disbelief, anger, sadness, confusion, hopelessness.
- Try to be calm and relaxed
- Do not look shocked or say mean things about the accused accuser.
- Allow the child to do most of the talking and keep questions about details of the abuse to a minimum.
- If you appear overwhelmed, the child may discontinue the conversation.
Some things you can say to the child:
- Thank them for telling you
- Tell the child that they were brave to tell and you are glad that they told you
- Tell the child that you are sorry this happened to them
- Let them know that they are not alone, this happens to other children too
- Let them know that you will do everything you can to help
- You are there to love and support them
- Ask probing questions
- Call them a liar
- Ask “How can you say those things about…?”
- Ask “How could you let him/her do those things to you?”
- Talk about how the child is tarnished or ruined
- Ask why they did not tell you earlier
- Promise not to tell anyone