Families Change Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Dealing with abuse in the home

Many parents have trouble openly discussing abuse that is happening in their home, even with their children. Most children experiencing abuse are also reluctant to talk about it.

Suspected abuse or violence in a home should never be ignored. Parents or other concerned adults can direct children to the home pages of the Kids Guide and Teen Guide and then touch on all topics in a general way, keeping their tone matter-of-fact throughout the tour, including the “People Getting Hurt” and “Abuse at Home” information. Let the children make their way through this material privately.

Topics covered in the children's websites include:

  • Ways to identify abuse
  • Reassuring children that they are not to blame and are not alone
  • Encouraging children to get help from a trusted adult
  • Breaking the cycle of abuse
  • Using the Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • Calling 9-1-1 if there is immediate danger

If an abused child reaches out to you for support, the first step for adults is to listen. The next step is to seek professional help for the child.

It is important for adults and children who have been victims of abuse to seek help from a professional. Talk to a doctor, counselor, or agency in your community that specializes in helping victims of abuse.

Abusive relationships make family changes more complicated. Parents in abusive relationships need to consider the content of this guide with increased sensitivity. If abuse is an issue, your first priority is to protect yourself and your child. If risk or danger exists you need to stay safe, and get help.