Disclosure - Things to Know

When a child or youth discloses abuse, or you suspect that something may have happened to a child, use the following guide to help you…

DO report this information to the RCMP or Child & Family Services as soon as possible
DO let the child know that abuse is NEVER their fault
DO try to remain calm and control your emotions.
DO ask for help, if you feel you are unable to control your reaction

RESPECT the Person who has Disclosed

If a child is telling – listen.
If a child is quiet, do not try to make him/her continue talking
Do not force a child/youth to undress- even if you suspect they may have injuries
Ask the child’s permission before showing the injuries to others
Ask the child’s permission before discussing the abuse with [other] family members.

DO offer COMFORT

let them know how brave they are to tell
you are sorry that this has happened to them
you are glad that they are telling you about it
you are here to support them, and care about them
they are NOT alone – this has happened to other children too
you will help
reassure them that telling the truth will not get them into trouble, or make you angry with them

PROCEED WITH CAUTION …..

Facial expressions should be kept neutral - looking shocked or disgusted by what the child has to say will send a negative message.

Be cautious in how you speak about the offender.
The child has a relationship with that person.

Choose words wisely. A child may become frightened if there is talk of JAIL, ASSAULT, CHILD ABUSE etc.

Listen, Carefully
It is important that you accurately record the child’s words without correcting, (including slang or obscene words) changing, or adding to the child’s description of what happened.
It is very important to the investigation that you do not alter the child’s account.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Leave the INVESTIGATING to the Professionals: You do not need to try to prove or disprove the allegation - doing so may contaminate the investigation, or put the child at further risk

Accept the information that the child has provided to you without asking further questions or eliciting more details.

The child is NEVER to blame for the abuse – avoid asking children “WHY” something may have happened – this may make them feel responsible and/or ashamed.

It is important that you Do NOT ask questions that may suggest to the child what happened: eg: “How did you get that bruise on your leg – were you hit with a wooden spoon?”

Try not to interrupt the child, or add your own words or feelings to their description.

TELL THE CHILD/YOUTH WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT

1) Let them know that you MUST contact the authorities in order to get help, stop the abuse, and keep people safe.
2) Answer their questions simply and honestly

Only the RCMP or Child Family Services can make a referral to the Caribou Centre.
In Alberta, you are REQUIRED to report allegations of child abuse directly to children's services or the RCMP.

To report abuse in the Grande Prairie Area:

Child and Family Services: 780-538-5102

RCMP 780-830-5701