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How do children disclose abuse?

When children disclose abuse, the disclosures can be direct or indirect. Following are some ways a child may disclose abuse
  • Most likely a disclosure will be indirect, which can mean the child does not share the details of the abuse without being prompted, or does so in a roundabout way. An example of this is, “Sometimes my step‐dad keeps me up at night.”
  • A disclosure can be disguised, for example: “I have a cousin who is being abused.”
  • A disclosure can be through hints or gestures, or even through another child “My friend told me….” The child is hoping that a caring parent or caregiver will get the “hint” they are offering.
  • A direct disclosure is when the victim simply says what is occurring: "My dad touches my privates when mom's not around." or "My mom" when asked where a scratch came from.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.