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 Responding to a child disclosing abuse


When a child or young person tells you that he or she is being abused or neglected, the most important things you can do are:

  • believe the child
  • reassure the child that telling you was the right thing to do
  • maintain a calm appearance
  • find a quiet place to talk with the child
  • be truthful
  • listen to the child and let them take their time
  • let the child use their own words to tell you what happened
  • let the child know what you will do next
  • do not confront the person alleged to be the abuser
  • call the Department’s district office nearest to where the child lives
  • be respectful of the sensitive nature of the information and only discuss the child’s situation with professionals who are dealing with the matter
  • if possible write down what the child has said.

In Western Australia, doctors, nurses and midwives, teachers and police officers are required by law to report a belief, formed on reasonable grounds in the course of their work, that a child has been the subject of sexual abuse, to the Department. For further details, refer to the Mandatory Reporting website.



What to do... when you are concerned that a child is being abused or neglected
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How do I recognise when a child is at risk of abuse or neglect?
Outlines the five main types of child abuse and neglect.

Identifying and responding to child abuse and neglect
A guide for professionals.

What does it mean?
A guide for families and carers about how the Department for Child Protection helps keep children safe.

Protecting children
Information for parents, families and friends. 

Keeping our kids safe
For aboriginal families and communities.

  Become a Foster Carer
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