Parent and Carer Advice

We often receive requests for support from parents, carers and professionals on how best to respond to a child or young person who shares with them that they have been abused. The following is a helpful guide on how to support them.


  • Listen Carefully – Be patient and hear what the child has to say.
  • Believe the child.
  • Let them know that they have done the right thing in telling you.
  • Tell them its not their fault – it is important that they hear and know this.
  • Reassure them that you are taking them seriously.
  • Explain what you will do next to help and support them.

Helpful phrases:

You did the right thing, I’m glad you’ve told me.

I believe everything that you are telling me.

You have been very brave telling me.

You have done nothing wrong, it’s not your fault.

I will do everything I can to keep you safe.

I love you. (parents/carers only)


  • Express your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Appear to be shocked.
  • Minimise or make excuses for the abuse.
  • Confront the alleged abuser.

Unhelpful phases

Why did you……….?

Why didn’t you……?

Are you sure that is what happened?

Don’t tell lies!

Let’s pretend this didn’t happen.


Common feelings for non-abusing parents when their child discloses sexual abuse:

  • Anger – You may feel angry at the perpetrator. You may even feel angry at your child for not speaking out sooner – It is important to remember it is not the child’s fault.
  • Disbelief/ Shock  – It is difficult news to hear and may take time to understand and process.
  • Sadness – You may feel sadness for your child, your family or yourself. It’s OK to be upset.
  • Sense of Failure – You may feel that you have failed to protect your child and doubt your abilities as a parent.
  • Sense of Loss – Such disclosures signify the loss of many things; it may mean the loss of a family member, loss of a child’s innocence, loss of how ‘things used to be’
  • Confusion – You may feel confused, especially if you had no idea about the abuse prior to the disclosure.
  • Fear – You may be fearful of further abuse, or the impact the abuse/ or reporting the abuse may have on your child, your family and your future
  • Anxiety – You may feel anxious or nervous about ‘doing’ or ‘saying’ the right things 

It is important to remember that there is no ‘right’ way to feel in response to disclosures. It is important to seek support for your child and yourself.

How to get in touch with RSACC

You can call RSACC on 01325 354119 and refer yourself or someone you know or email

Contact our Emotional Support Services

0300 222 5730 or email

For times and days go to Talk to Us – our Emotional Support Services page

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