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 Responding to a child disclosing abuse


When a child or young person tells you that he or she is being abused or neglected, the most important things you can do are:

  • believe the child
  • reassure the child that telling you was the right thing to do
  • maintain a calm appearance
  • find a quiet place to talk with the child
  • be truthful
  • listen to the child and let them take their time
  • let the child use their own words to tell you what happened
  • let the child know what you will do next
  • do not confront the person alleged to be the abuser
  • call the Department’s district office nearest to where the child lives
  • be respectful of the sensitive nature of the information and only discuss the child’s situation with professionals who are dealing with the matter
  • if possible write down what the child has said.

In Western Australia, doctors, nurses and midwives, teachers and police officers are required by law to report a belief, formed on reasonable grounds in the course of their work, that a child has been the subject of sexual abuse, to the Department. For further details, refer to the Mandatory Reporting website.



What to do... when you are concerned that a child is being abused or neglected
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How do I recognise when a child is at risk of abuse or neglect?
Outlines the five main types of child abuse and neglect.

Identifying and responding to child abuse and neglect
A guide for professionals.

What does it mean?
A guide for families and carers about how the Department for Child Protection helps keep children safe.

Protecting children
Information for parents, families and friends. 

Keeping our kids safe

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