What should I do if my daughter tells me she is being abused?

Parents may try to prepare themselves for various scenarios that may pop up with their children, but one thing a parent can never prepare for is hearing the words: "I'm being abused." The moments that follow a statement like that can feel totally surreal, but what you do next can be incredibly important.

  • Stay Calm. We know that telling you to stay calm after hearing your child has been abused is like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater and then asking everyone to exit in a calm and orderly fashion. It seems next to impossible. However, your daughter is going to react to your emotions, so if you scream, cry, or yell, she might shut down completely and stop talking. You need to make her feel comfortable and stay as calm as possible so she knows she can trust you and confide in you.
  • Do Not Blame Her. Another big part of building trust with your daughter is making sure she knows you believe her. It took a lot of courage on her part to speak up, and you should not respond by belittling what she has told you. You need to listen to everything she says very carefully, tell her it was not her fault, and let her know you are going to try and make sure the abuse stops for good.
  • Take Your Daughter Out of the Abusive Situation. One of the most effective ways to stop abuse in its tracks is to keep your child away from the person or people responsible. You may still be looking into your daughter’s claim, but you should not send her back to the abuser while you try and figure things out.
  • Seek Professional Help. Depending on what type of abuse has occurred, you may need to speak with different professionals, including doctors or therapists. You should also contact a child abuse attorney as soon as possible; he will be able to help put you in touch with the proper authorities and assist you in taking legal action, if necessary.

Did your child just tell you she is being abused and you don't know what to do next? If you live in the Fort Worth area, contact the Law Office of Tom Hall for a free initial consultation by calling 817-831-6100. Let our child abuse legal team give you the benefit of our years of experience in this area.