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10 years ago | 16921 Views


 If you suspect a child may have been abused or is at risk of abuse, it is not up to you to try to prove your suspicions. Trying to do this may contaminate or ruin the investigations and may put the child at further risk. If you suspect that a child is being or has been abused or a child/adult discloses abuse, you must report this information to an organisation that deals with children. The investigation will be done by people who are experts.


If you have seen or heard something that makes you suspect child abuse, remember these:


Control your Emotions

v  Try to be calm and to be relaxed.

v  Do not look shocked, disgusted or say something about whom you think may have abused the child.

v  Control your feelings and be supportive to the child.

Offer Comfort

Support children by letting them know that:

v  They were very brave to open up.

v  You are glad they are telling you about this

v   You are sorry that this has happened to them

v  They are not alone- this happens to other children too

v  You will do everything you can to help

v  You are there to love and support them


Be Aware of the Child’s Age and Skills


v  Accept the words a child uses (including slang words) to describe what happened. Some children do not know the right words for body parts or sexual behaviours. Do not correct or change the words the child uses- it is extremely important for the investigation that the child’s words are used when telling what happened.

v  Do not use words that may frighten the child, for example rape, incest, child abuse, wife assault or jail.


Ask Questions That let The Child Tell The Story in His/her Own Words

v  “Can you tell me what happened”

v  “What happened next”

v  “How did you get that bruise”




 Do not stigmatise or blame the child by asking questions such as:


“How can you say those things about..?”


“That horrible man has ruined you forever”

“How could you let him do those things to you?”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?”


Children may “take back” what they said and this is called recanting. These children continue to need your love and support.


Do not

v  Ask questions that suggest what happened or who did it for example “Did you get that bruise because mhamha hit you with a brush?”

v  Question what the child tells you for example, by asking. “Are you sure it was sekuru?”

v  Interrupt or add your own words when the child stops talking

v  Ask children “why” something may have happened. Many children may think you are blaming them for what happened.

v  Try to change the mind of a child who has recanted or changed his/her story

v  Keep on asking questions because you want to try to prove abuse


Respect The Child Who Discloses


v  If a child is telling, listen

v  If a child is quiet, do not try to make him/her talk

v  Do not force a child to undress if you suspect s/he may have injuries

v  Do not show off child injuries to others.


Tell The Child What Will Happen Next


v  Do not make promises you cannot keep, for example, do not agree to keep what the child said is a secret. It is important to explain to the child that some secrets must be shared in order to get help, or to keep people from being hurt. Tell the child the information will be shared only with people who will try to help

v  Answer the child’s question as simply and honestly as possible. Do not make up answers. For example, if a child asks, “Will baba have to go to jail now?” You can say you don’t know.

v  Do not tell the child to keep any of your discussions with him/her secret.

4 bettymakoni


Comment as Anonymous Submit
Anonymous user 10 years
Try to be calm and to be relaxed. I think I will only do this after kicking the living day light out of the abuser. Thank Betty for sharing this.
Anonymous user 10 years
When it comes to matters of child abuse we must always know our actions if not controlled can scare a child not to open up more.Children talk freely if allowed space. Anonymous yes I understand the anger but do it when a child is not aware of it as it might make a child feel guilty their reporting caused all this.
Anonymous user 10 years
Their Pastor for feedback. I have done so much work on child sexual abuse and am a rape survivor at age 6 and if I ever live to do something I will always share what saves and serves children. I will share more
Anonymous user 9 years
Thanks for the hints.I am Muthuri Wa Kananua of GCN Kenya,Project Coordinator,EDUCATE A CHILD INITIATIVE
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