What Should I Do if a Child Tells Me They've Been Abused?
Believe the child
- Believe a child if s/he tells you something. False reporting is a myth - only 3% of children make up claims of abuse. However, children often take back what they say once adults act improperly.
- Remain calm. Assure the child you are listening and what s/he has to say is important.
- Let him/her know that it wasn't his/her fault.
Talk to the child
- Listen. Let the child do the talking.
- You can ask if they are ok - be human.
- Ask open questions - who, what, where?
- Don't conduct an investigation.
- Don't ask leading or suggestive questions. Don't insert the names of an adult you may suspect - let the child do the talking.
- Don't interrupt the child.
- Ask simple questions & use simple language.
- Avoid questions related to time.
- Avoid "why" questions.
Report the abuse
- Call 911 or 1-800-922-5330.
- All investigations are confidential and you can report anonymously
- Collect your facts and write down notes
- When reporting try to have:
- Child's Name
- Age or Date of Birth
- Present Location of Child
- Permanent address
- Caregiver's Name and Address
- Brief description of the allegations
- Let 911 help you - ask them questions if you are confused.
The Child Abuse Report Guide is intended to help by providing you with a guide to reporting abuse or neglect in Kansas. It suggests guidelines for:
- When to report child abuse
- What evidence needs to be noted
- The consequences of failure to report child abuse and neglect
Child Advocacy Centers, or CACs, coordinate a collaborative partnership of professionals who are dedicated to providing child-sensitive interviews and compassionate services to children and their families. Professionals representing child protective services, legal, law enforcement, mental health, medical and other disciplines provide a coordinated team response when a child reports abuse or when there is reason to believe a child has been abused or neglected.
Although a CAC doesn’t become involved in child abuse cases until after a report is made requiring them to provide intervention services, these centers also share a goal of stopping abuse before it even starts. Child Advocacy Centers provide child abuse prevention education to hundreds of thousands of individuals annually, often in schools settings but also in their communities. Each CAC has a goal to help educate and raise awareness so their community can stop the pattern before it gets started.
In addition to the presentations pertaining specifically to child abuse prevention and reporting, our CAC focuses a portion of our outreach on educating community members and professionals that work with at-risk youth. The goal of the CAC will be to help educate those that work with these children to enable them to be more prepared for working with them on a daily basis and allow more guidance in providing these children their needed safety.
Workshops are available for professionals and caregivers to attend.Read more
What is the cost of services through Stepping Stones Child Advocacy Center?
There is no cost for services for the victim and their non-offending caregiver.
How should I tell my child that he/she has to talk about this situation with a stranger?
Tell your child that they will be meeting with someone who is a specialist (or you pick a word that will best relate to your child, i.e. an interviewer, helper, etc.) in talking to children about very difficult things. Tell your child that even though they’ve told things to you (or to someone else), it’s important that the information is given to a specialist.
What if my child questions me about what they will have to say?
Tell your child that you don’t know exactly what they will be asked but that you believe in them and know they’ll be honest. Reassure them that the interviewer will make them feel comfortable and that it is their job to talk to kids about difficult things. Tell them you want him/her to answer all the questions the best they can and to tell the truth. Be general in what you tell your child, but give the child permission to talk about what they have disclosed (i.e. “It’s ok to tell the interviewer what you told me happened.”) Do not repeat the details of what they disclosed and don’t ask them any questions; let the professionals do all the asking.
What if my child wants to know why they can’t just tell me?
Tell your child that a special interviewer is needed because you might not know what questions to ask and how to ask them. Assure them that they are not in any trouble and that they are doing what every child should always do: which is to tell someone when another person has done something wrong.
What if my child wants me in the room with them?
Assure your child that while they are talking to the interviewer, you’ll be in the next room talking to someone else and getting information on how to make sure they will stay safe.
What if my child says they don’t want to do this because they already told their story?
Tell your child that you understand their feelings of frustration, especially since it’s a difficult story to tell. But also tell them how brave they were for telling it in the first place and how proud you are of their honesty. Tell them that because they were so brave, they’re going to be helping to keep other children safe by telling their story to the people who are in charge of keeping all children safe.
Multidisciplinary Team Members
Riley County Police Department 785-537-2112
Manhattan Department for Children and Families (DCF) 785-776-4011
Riley County Attorney’s Office 785-537-6390
SANE/SART (sexual assault nurse examiner/sexual assault response team) from
Darkness 2 Light - Stewards of Children
Stewards of Children is an evidence-based, third party evaluated child sexual abuse prevention training available. In 2007, Stewards of Children was awarded the Crime Prevention Program of the year by the National Crime Prevention Council. This training utilizes survivors of child sexual abuse as well as professionals that work within the field to increase participant’s knowledge on the issue and help change child protective behaviors.
Advice from Child Molesters
Advice from Child Molesters is a program adopted from the Center for Behavioral Intervention in Beaverton, Oregon. This training uses information gained from working directly with those convicted of child sex crimes and sentenced to a behavioral treatment program. Participants of this training will receive an in-depth knowledge on grooming behaviors of child sex abusers.
Mandated Reporter Training
This training is available to any agency or organization that employs mandated reporters. We will teach new employees of the requirements of being a mandated reporters as well as remind those that have been in the field for many years.
The role of the Family/Victim Advocate is to provide onsite support and information during a child’s forensic interview and post appointment follow up. Post appointment follow up can be done via telephone, email, or in person visits. The Family/Victim Advocate is available to discuss the family’s needs, concerns and answer questions. It is the Family/Victim Advocate’s responsibility to help families by connecting them to needed resources. Family/Victim Advocate Services can include but are not limited to:
- Accessing medical services
- Accessing mental health services
- Assistance connecting with the County Attorney’s office Victim Advocate when/if charges are filed
- Assistance in completing the Crime Victim’s Compensation (CVC) application and act as a liaison with the CVC Board as needed
- Assistance in locating other support services through DCF including obtaining and completing applications (cash assistance, food stamps, Kancare, child care assistance)
- Safety information
- Assistance locating budgeting resources
- Coordinate services with other community agencies as needed
- Education resources for children and adults
- Assistance locating emergency assistance resources/options (utility/rent assistance, clothing, food, etc.)
- Assistance locating employment resources
- Assistance locating housing resources/options
- Assistance locating parenting resources
- Support at court hearings
- Support through investigative process
Contact our Family/Victim Advocate:
*Adapted from The Sunflower House “Family Advocacy Services” handout
Stepping Stones Child Advocacy Center
In 2007, Sunflower CASA Project agreed to facilitate the formation of a Child Advocacy Center in Riley County. Child Advocacy Centers, or CACs, coordinate a collaborative partnership of professionals who are dedicated to providing child-sensitive interviews and compassionate services to children and their family. Professionals representing child protective services, legal, law enforcement, mental health, medical and other disciplines provide a coordinated multidisciplinary team response when a child reports abuse or when there is reason to believe a child has been abused or neglected.
Currently there are nearly 800 CACs in the US working under the National Children’s Alliance and there are many more CACs in development. Kansas has almost 20 CACs working across the state, serving as members of the Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center and the Kansas Chapter of Child Advocacy Centers. Stepping Stones Child Advocacy Center opened its doors on July 1, 2008 and received accreditation in 2012.
What Do Services at the CAC Include?
The multidisciplinary team approach strives to reduce further trauma to the child and helps the child and family to heal from the emotional wounds associated with abuse. The multidisciplinary approach focuses on prevention, detection, investigation, treatment and prosecution and includes:
*Child-centered investigative interviews
*Multidisciplinary investigations and case management
*Information and referral
*Education and outreach
*Professional in-service training