Helping an Abused Child
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, do you know what to do? It
is natural to feel a little overwhelmed and confused in this situation. At the same
time, it is critical that you do something to get the child the help they
need. If the child is your own, then you must change. Learn how to break the cycle of abuse. If the child
is not your own, understand that Allah will still hold you responsible for your
action or inaction with regard to this oppression of which He has brought to your
attention. These are difficult situations to deal with, and you should make sure
you are not shying away from your responsibility because you believe the myths about reporting abuse.
If you are talking with an abused child, the very best thing you can do is to keep
calm and give them your unconditional support. Remember, it can be very difficult
for a child to talk about their abuse. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Remain Calm – and don’t deny what the child is telling you.
A common reaction to news as unpleasant and shocking as child abuse is denial. But
if you display disbelief to what the child is telling you, or show your shock or
disgust – the child may be afraid to keep talking and just shut down.
- Don’t interrogate. If you ask a lot of questions you may
confuse or fluster the child and make it harder for them to tell their story. Instead,
allow the child to use his or her own words to explain what happened.
- Reassure the child and don’t blame them. It is not easy for
a child to come forward when they’ve been abused. It is critical that you
reassure them and tell them that you take them seriously – and that what has
happened is not the child’s fault
- Maintain Safety first. If you feel that your safety or the safety
of the child would be threatened if you try to intervene, leave it to the professionals.
You may be able to provide more support later after the initial professional intervention.