About the Issue
What is Child Sexual Abuse? Myths/Facts about Disclosures of Child Sexual Abuse Statistics About Abuse Resources


Disclosure Among Children

Myth 1
If a child is sexually abused, she or he will immediately come and tell.
Fact: Disclosure of sexual abuse is often delayed; children often avoid telling because they are either afraid of a negative reaction from their parents or of being harmed by the abuser. As such, they often delay disclosure until adulthood.

Myth 2
Children disclose immediately after the abuse and provide a detailed account of what has occurred.
Fact: A common presumption is that children will give one detailed, clear account of abuse. Research reflects that disclosures often unfold gradually and may be presented in a series of hints.

Myth 3
Children are more likely to disclose if directly questioned by their parent or an adult authority figure who can help.
Fact: Children might imply something has happened to them without directly stating they were sexually abused—they may be testing the reaction to their “hint.”
Fact: If they are ready, children may then follow with a larger hint if they think it will be handled well.
Fact: It’s easy to miss hints of disclosure of abuse. As a result, a child may not receive the help needed.

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