Child’s Disclosure of Abuse

You are a CYC working in an elementary school. One of the students arrived with suspicious bruises. With someone you know assume the role of counsellor and have someone assume the role of the child who is  disclosing or in the process of healing. Use the counselling skills you have learned in Intro to Counselling.  Reference the “Handling Disclosures” article  list of dos and don’ts to guide and assess how the counselling session went.  Remember that, even though this is just practice, you will face this in real life often as a CYC so please focus on this. Once you have completed completed the counselling session answer the following questions in paragraph format and submit. 1. Did you find the list of do’s and don’t’s helpful?  Why?  Why not?   2.  What might you find difficult if a child/youth discloses abuse to you? Why?     Marks  5%.  Handling and Reporting disclosures   Introduction: We will focus, at an introductory level, on the most effective ways for CYC’s to handle disclosures of abuse and explore this role in relation to the prevention of abuse and ongoing treatment issues. Often children and youth have made previous attempts to disclose an abusive situation and have stopped because the adult they told either did not believe them or they became fearful of the consequences and quickly retracted their story.  As CYC’s we must be prepared for disclosures and be able to encourage and support the child or youth through the telling of their abuse stories.  Responding to a Child’s Disclosure of Abuse When a child who has been a victim of abuse discloses to you, it is important to understand that the “child considers you to be a trustworthy person with whom he/she wishes to share a personal burden (Community Child Abuse Council of Hamilton-Wentworth). It is up to you to ensure the child’s privacy and confidentiality by speaking with him in a place that allows this. The information that the child then shares with you is often emotionally difficult for you as well as for your client. In this process it is important that both we and the youth understand that we don’t keep secrets here and we give the youth permission to tell their story. (Caring for Children & Youth). As a CYC who continues to be involved with a child or youth after the reporting process is completed, it is important to keep in mind a variety of ongoing treatment issues. Children must have a safe environment where they can talk about the abuse.  They need to be able to talk about their feelings about themselves, their parents, the perpetrator, siblings and friends. Children and youth need to learn appropriate ways to express their anger and learn about positive touching and healthy sexual behaviour. Empowerment becomes a focus for your involvement with a child. Learning to say `no’ becomes important to that sense of empowerment as well, depending upon the age, the possibility of taking a self defense course.   Misconceptions about their bodies and themselves must be addressed as well as misconceptions about the abuse occurrence and who is to blame for the abuse must be explored.  Support and helping a child or youth prepare for court may also become a part of your role as a C.Y.C. It is obvious that our role varies significantly depending upon the child’s needs and the agency involvement.  We must as C.Y.C.’s continue to be aware of and develop our understanding of child abuse and its impact on our children and youth. For many CYC students, this may be your first real exposure to this issue and your role in working with children and youth.  If at any time you experience ongoing issues and feelings related to this topic it is important to talk with someone about your feelings and concerns.  We as CYC’s must always be aware of the feelings our work creates in us.  It is important to seek support and supervision to deal effectively with those feelings in order that we ensure our ongoing effectiveness in working with children and youth. Below are three videos giving you the basics of what you need to know.  The workshops on disclosure and reporting go more into detail to help you prepare for the field. Watch Child Protection Part 3 Speaking with Children on utube .   Merit Career Development. (Nov.7. 2018). Child Protection. Speaking with Children. Retrieved from: (Links to an external site.)  

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