Children and young people often know when something’s not quite right at home, despite perhaps adults attempts to hide the situation or say things like “don’t worry everything is fine” “we’re just having a little disagreement”.
If it’s possible the parent or another adult should speak to the child or young person about what’s happening and what might happen next like moving homes/areas, parents separating for example.
Things you can do and say:
• Believe them. It’s not up to you to decide whether or not what the child or young person is saying is the truth. Talking about abuse and domestic violence can be very difficult. Listen and believe what they are saying.
• Be supportive. You might say “I’m glad you told me about this. Thanks for trusting me.”
• Don’t judge. If you say something like “How can you put up with this?” or “I can’t believe you haven’t told anyone about this!” you might push them away.
• Be honest. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re really worried, that you think they need help. Remember, you can’t solve the problem, but you can help them get the help they need.
• They’re not alone. Let the child or young person know that this happens to other children and young people there not alone and there are sources of help out there.
• Tell them it’s not their fault. Abuse is never a child or young person’s fault. The child or young person might feel as though they’re to blame for what’s happening – let them know this is not the case.
• Offer help. Explain to the child or young person that there are sources of help out there, work with them to find websites or helpline numbers they can call. Encourage them to speak to someone they trust or their mum (if it’s safe to do so) about their concerns, or maybe another family member.
• Develop a safety plan with them. The safety plan is a great tool the child or young person can use to work out ways to keep safe. (link to this page)
• Use The Hideout website as a resource. There are lots of interactive games and quizzes on this website, designed specifically for children and young people, use them to explore some of the issues they may be facing.
• Talking about violence and abuse takes a lot of strength and courage. Thank the child or young person for trusting you and let them know how strong they are.