Many figures in a child’s life can be perpetrators of abuse. If you suspect someone in your child’s life abused him or her, how you respond will have a significant impact on how your child can cope and heal from such a traumatic experience. To help you navigate this emotionally trying situation, here are three steps you should immediately take if you suspect your child was abused.
First, attend to your child. React calmly. Tell your child this was not his or her fault and nothing bad will happen to them or the family. Avoid panicking. The most important thing you can do is talk with your child without pressure. To take proactive (and preventative) steps, you need to know who the abuser is and what happened. This can take some time as you discuss the abuse with your child.
Some children fear disclosing abuse to their parents because they think they will get in trouble or the abuser will be mad. Emphasize the important thing is he or she is safe and will remain safe in your care. Your child likely overcame some strong feelings when disclosing the abuse to you, so take the time to recognize their courage and tell them they did the right thing. Many children withhold disclosure simply because they fear they will not be believed. So make sure you take the disclosure seriously, even if you have doubts or concerns.
The next most important thing to do is secure your child’s safety. Keep your child away from the abuser. How you do this will depend on who the abuser was. Was it a relative? A caregiver? A family friend? Take immediate steps to prevent any contact between the abuser and your child. CPS considers it child neglect if you knowingly fail to protect your child from the abuser.
Next, it’s essential you report the abuse. Involving the authorities can help protect your child and other children as well. It’s also important to provide accurate details while they are fresh in your mind. Report abuse to the New Jersey child abuse hotline.
If you suspect your child was abused, first make sure your child is safe, and then speak with an experienced New Jersey child abuse attorney. An attorney can walk you through the difficult steps of reporting the abuse to the right authorities and securing the safety of your child.
Do you need the help of a New Jersey child abuse attorney? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help you take steps to report the abuser and secure the safety of your child. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.