In the event of a disclosure, please remember that the caregiver’s reaction will play a large part in how the child will cope with and heal from the abuse.


  • Remember that you are angry at what happened – not your child. Children can mistakenly interpret anger or disgust as directed towards them.
  • In most circumstances, children do not lie about sexual abuse. The most harmful reaction would be for the parent to express doubt or disbelief of a child’s disclosure.
  • Reinforce that he or she is not to blame for what happened. Sexual abuse is NEVER a child’s fault!
  • Be careful not to discuss the abuse in front of people who do not need to know what happened.
  • Understand that children do not automatically hate the “perpetrator.” They just wanted the abuse to stop, so they told.
  • Dont’s

  • Children need help and support to make it through this difficult time.
  • Allow your child to talk at his or her own pace. Forcing information can be harmful. Silencing will not help him or her to forget. In addition, avoid having conversations, or phone calls, about what happened in front of your child.
  • The stress may be harmful. This is a job for the authorities.
  • Avoid questions such as, “Why didn’t you tell the first time this happened?”; “Why didn’t you say no, fight back or run away?”; and, “Why did you go back over there after it happened?”
  •  If you suspect a child has been the victim of abuse, or witnessed a violent crime, contact your local Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) or, in the event of an emergency, call 911.

    Louisiana DCFS (if the offender lives with or cares for the child): (855) 4LA-KIDS 

    Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Personal Violence Unit: (504) 364-5362