Foundations Family Counseling - What to Do If You Think a Child is Being Abused (1)

What to Do If You Think a Child is Being Abused

No one wants to face the horrible realities in society, and as hard as it might be, some people come face to face with child abuse. The following are a few steps you can take if you think child abuse is taking place.

Understand the Signs

One step to take is to educate yourself. Most people have an innate feeling that tells them something is a little off. Listen to that feeling and learn more about child abuse. You want to learn the signs of different types of child abuse.

A child who is suffering from physical abuse might wear a lot of clothes, act immature, and might have emotional behavioral issues. A child who is being sexually abused may have trouble changing clothes in gym class. This child might also be able to communicate high levels of sexual understanding beyond his or her peers.

Be Brave

It might seem strange to say, but you have to be brave. A lot of times this type of abuse isn’t reported because people don’t act on their suspicions. This is a hard thing to talk about because it’s uncomfortable. Maybe you don’t want to imagine what might be happening to this child, or maybe you don’t want to make a mistake.

You can’t think this way. You are going to have to be brave so that you can fight child abuse, fight child sexual abuse, or fight human trafficking. In one year, there could be up 4,585 human trafficking cases discovered, and a lot of those are linked to children. Your suspicion could help save a child if you are willing to tell the proper authorities.

Contacting the Right People

It’s important to contact the proper authorities, and you have a lot of options. For example, you can call the police who will connect you with the right people. If you can, it’s better to call a local child services agency.

The folks here know how to investigate this kind of claim and will do so discreetly. You are going to allow the professionals to take this case afterward. Your call can remain anonymous, especially if you know the people you are reporting. What you don’t want to do is get involved. You don’t want to start an altercation over a suspicion. Allow child service agents to take care of this problem on their own. They know what they are doing.

Talk to the Child

If you aren’t sure just yet, it might be a good idea to talk to the child you believe is being abused. Sometimes, it’s hard to catch signs of abuse, and if that is happening to you, then be patient. You don’t have to ask about what is happening directly when you talk to the child.

It’s better to build a relationship with this child. Give him or her a reason to trust you. Let the child come to you when he or she feels ready to talk to you. Children who are abused have a hard time finding adults they can trust, so just be that adult. Once you can confirm your suspicions, you can make the call.

Mention it to Trusted Adults

Teachers, counselors, and camp supervisors are folks you can probably trust. If you aren’t sure but want to talk to someone who is a bit more involved with this child, then any of these adults are good options. Try to talk to one of these individuals about your suspicions. Mention the things you’ve noticed.

These adults are with the child all the time and should be able to see signs if there are any. Teachers and other adults are required by law to report child abuse if it seems possible, so the child will be in good hands. This is a good way to help a child if you don’t feel like you can confirm your suspicions alone.

Ideally, these are steps and signs you never have to worry about because this won’t ever happen near you. Still, it’s good to know because it might happen, and you might be the answer to those children’s prayers. It’s always good to help others in need. For more information, please contact us.