How to Talk to a Child Who is Being Abused 

 April 30, 2014

By  LMW Attorneys

April is Child Abuse Awareness month, and we would like to focus on this delicate subject in order to bring awareness to the issue. Bringing child abuse to light will hopefully help to make a difference in a child’s life. While our blogs have already addressed the signs of child abuse, we would like to take it one step further by exploring how to speak with a child who is being abused.

Did you know?

  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2010 an estimated 51,920 children were victims of child abuse or neglect.

If you suspect a child is a victim of child abuse…

Helpguide.org outlines some tips for talking to an abused child. The number one step is to remain calm first and foremost. Some other essential tips include:

  • Avoiding denial and remaining calm in order to gain the child’s trust. They may feel threatened or afraid if you react negatively, and in turn refuse to disclose anything to you.
  • Give the child time and patience to explain their story.
  • Reassure the child that they did nothing wrong. The child has to know that whatever happened isn’t their fault, and they are not being judged for the events.
  • Let them know you are taking them seriously.
  • Report to the authorities once you have ensured the child is a victim of abuse.

The number to report child abuse in the state of Florida is (800) 96-ABUSE, and can also be dialed as (800) 962-2873.

Informing both our clients and readers about recognizing, reporting and preventing child abuse is particularly important to us at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins. Having informed community members is the first step to creating a meaningful change in the lives of others.


About child abuse. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fncac.org/index.php?s=3065

Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2014, February). Child abuse & neglect. Retrieved fromhttp://www.helpguide.org/mental/child_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014, April 30).State child abuse reporting numbers. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=5&rate_chno=W-00082