Victims of Child Abuse Rarely Lie: BELIEVE THEM.
Victims of child abuse rarely lie
May 2, 2010
Child abuse is a difficult topic to talk. Child sexual abuse is even harder to acknowledge.
Often, adults ask me if children lie about being sexually abused. It is not easy to believe that a person could harm a child in such a way. Children do not lie about sexual abuse.
Statistics show that children are truthful 99.5 percent of the time. Because children disclose abuse in a variety of different ways, this often can be misunderstood and interpreted that the child is being untruthful.
When a child discloses sexual abuse, it can be upsetting to the caretakers and reactions vary. Reactions can include confusion, disbelief and denial. Another coping mechanism is to try and dismiss what was said as a lie or an attention-seeking story.
There are many factors to consider when supporting sexually abused children and to understand their experiences.
> The way children report sexual abuse depends on their age and developmental level.
> Children don’t automatically report the way adults do.
> There is no way a child can explicitly depict the details of sexual acts performed on them unless the child has experienced it.
> Children who have suffered multiple abuse encounters often present conflicting data, combining information from years of abuse into one or two accounts that include inconsistent details.
Sometimes these children are found less credible due to conflicting details and cannot give clear and specific facts that will stand up in court.
> Only when a child’s statements can fit criteria of reliability and consistency can they be successful in criminal court. While a child’s inconsistencies may on the surface seem like lying, they often are normal for their age and developmental stage.
> Just because charges of alleged abuse have been dropped and/or children have recanted certain statements, it does not indicate that children lie about sexual abuse.
> While controversy rages about whether to believe certain children, the children continue to feel misunderstood and mistreated, heightening their sense of being victims.
> Sexually abused children have been known to deny, minimize, “forget’’ and confuse facts of the abuse, but rarely do they lie.
> The most important thing that you can do for a child who is surviving sexual abuse is to listen and believe the child and protect the child from further acts of abuse.
If you suspect abuse offer, your child support and contact your local child protection services or law enforcement. In Larimer County call the HUB at (970) 498-6990. If you are interested in attending a child abuse prevention class to better protect your children, contact Ana Pasini-Sluss at (970) 407-9739 or email@example.com
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