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Sanford Health Dakota Children's Advocacy Center:
The process of disclosure
Disclosure can be a scary and difficult process for children. Some children who have been sexually abused may take weeks, months, or even years to fully reveal what was done to them. Many children never tell anyone about the abuse. In general:
Disclosure is often times a difficult process for children. It is rarely a one-time event in which an interviewer sits down with a child and the child tells everything. Children often tell their stories over a period of time and some never fully tell. Delayed disclosures are more common then not. Many children will never tell. Reasons many children don’t disclose include:
Additionally to most children “telling” means something very different then it does to adults. Children will say “Uncle Joe hurt me” and will assume adults know what they are talking about and will react to keep them safe. They don’t understand or comprehend why adults would need more information.
What do I do if a child discloses?
¹North Dakota Department of Human Services. ND.gov, 2010. Online. Internet. North Dakota State Government. January 2010, http://www.nd.gov/dhs.