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What to do if you suspect abuse?
When reading our book or talking about these issues, children may spontaneously tell about an abusive or bullying situation that they experienced. It is very important to talk to children about this as calmly as possible, emphasizing that what happened is not their fault. Aside from some open ended questions like, "what else happened?," you do not need to ask a lot of questions. It is not necessary to determine for sure that abuse or bullying has occurred. If you suspect abuse has occurred, contact the local child protection agency or police. If you feel uncertain about who to contact or what to do, it may help to talk to other adults such as family members, doctors, counselors, school personnel or other professionals in order to determine how to best address the particular situation. There is a national organization called Child Help USA. They have a hotline that is available 24 hours a day which can offer you guidance about what to do, their number is 1-800-422-4453. If you are concerned about bullying, school guidance counselors are an excellent resource in helping children and families deal with bullying situations.