Signs, Symptoms & Effects



What to do if you suspect abuse

WATCH OUR – 17 Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

What to do if you suspect abuse

Steps you can take to help keep a child safe, and what to do if you suspect a child’s been abused

Abuse is one of the very worst things that can ever happen to a child. But it’s not always easy to pick up the signs. And a child might not even know that what’s  happening is wrong.

You might have noticed bruises on a child that seem concerning, but you’re not sure they’re being abused. Or, you might be worried a child is being neglected because you often hear them crying in distress.

By being prepared, and knowing what help is available, you can make a real difference to a child’s safety and well being. Below you can find support and advice on what to do if you think a child&’s being abused.

Reasons a child keeps abuse secret

Coping with abuse and its effects is very difficult for children and it’s also hard for them to talk about it.

Depending on their age and maturity they might simply not understand what is happening to them or have the words to describe it. They may also be very aware that there will be consequences if they decide to speak out. For example, they might be afraid of the abuser finding out and worried that the abuse will get worse.

They may also feel that there is no one that they can tell, or that they won’t be believed.

In some cases, children don’t even realise that they’ve been abused and may believe that what they experienced is quite normal. Those who do know that what has happened to them is wrong might be too ashamed to reveal it.

Don’t let anything stop you from protecting a child

There are many reasons why adults don’t report their

concerns when they’re worried about a child. But children need someone to speak up for them to help them.

Whether you’re the child’s parent, relative, family friend, neighbour or a professional, don’t let anything stop you from protecting a child.

If in doubt, report

Don’t wait until you’re certain. If you’re not sure, run it by an expert counselor or qualified person.

A counsellor can assess the situation and advise you further. You might be wrong but you could be right and sharing your concerns can help to keep the child safe.

Remain anonymous

When you contact a helpline, you do not need to say who you are or how you know the child of concern, if you do not wish to.

If you do provide information that may identify you, they may need to pass this on to children’s services. But they would always ask them not to share it with the alleged abuser or the family.