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Your Role Throughout the Process
- Love and Safety: Provide love, safety, and a stable home life.
- Not the Child’s Fault: Make sure the child knows the abuse is not his or her fault.
- Okay to Cry: Let the child know it is okay to cry or be mad about it.
- Good Choice: Let the child know this was the right thing to do.
- Let the Child Start and Lead the Discussion: Do not quiz or keep questioning the child about the interview or abuse. If the child does not ask questions or bring up the issue, it is best that you also do not bring up the issue or ask questions. Any questions you have should be asked of the Caseworker or Law Enforcement Officer.
- Keep the child away from the suspect.
- Let Your Child Be a Child: Do not share your feelings of frustration or helplessness with the child. Instead, talk to someone you trust and/or find help for yourself. You do not need to handle this all alone.
- This May Not Be the End: Do not tell the child that the interview is the end of the legal process. It is possible that your child will be interviewed again and may be asked to testify in court. (It is best to wait until you have been notified by the Prosecutor’s Office about testifying, before telling your child that this is a possibility. Many of these cases never require this step, and telling your child prematurely could cause unnecessary stress.)
- Protect the Child(ren)’s privacy: Neither you nor the child needs to share any information about the abuse with anyone except for Law Enforcement, the Prosecutor, Children’s Protective Services Caseworkers, the Forensic Interviewer and the Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center staff. If there are other children and families involved in the investigation, avoid discussing the case with them. It may damage all the cases involved if the cases end up going to court.
- Be Supportive: The single most important factor in helping a child recover is the strong support of his or her parent and/or caregiver.