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Responding to a Child who has Experienced Abuse

Updated: Jan 16

“Hello there! I’m here to provide you with a bit of information on supporting a child survivor of violence or any violation. I would like to remind you that suggestions on this post should not be taken as medical advice, legal advice, therapy, etc. or as a one-size-fits-all approach.  Keep in mind that every individual’s journey of  experiencing and navigating through stress or trauma is distinctive because you are one of a kind and no person is truly like you!  Experiencing abuse in any form is NOT OKAY, but what you are experiencing as a result of abuse is valid.  Please know that healing is not a formula and is not for anyone else to define for you. You do you, and you follow all that you need to follow, to help yourself. If you need additional resources or just someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to Imaara Foundation."

(Image source: India Today)

How can you respond to a child who has experienced any abuse?

  • Listen to the child. It takes courage to speak up, so listen without judgment.

  • If you must ask questions, be sensitive about it and don't make the child feel cornered.

  • Reassure the child that they are not at fault or responsible.

  • Don't hug or kiss the child unless you ask her if he / she feels comfortable - you don't want the child feeling uncomfortable, again.

  • Gently find out all the facts and then try to ascertain what happened.

  • Ensure that you tell the child that he / she is safe, and that the person who did this to the child will NOT come in contact with the child. Take steps to ensure that this is done.

  • Provide the child with professional help and counselling, based on the degree of trauma.

  • If you are up to it, confront this person and press charges if you will. If you have your family's support do so. BUT, be mindful of your child's comfort, for legal systems may expect the child to speak up and present evidence repetitively, which may be traumatic.

What are some preventive measures you can engage in as a parent?

What are some things you can remember as a parent, teacher, or caregiver?


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