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Can children talk about abuse and neglect?

Below, you can learn more about the telling aspect of the iCAN wheel by watching the short video.



Telling can be non-verbal (hidden and signs and symptoms) or verbal (prompted or purposeful) as indicated on the wheel.



A child can remain hidden in several ways. The child may deliberately avoid telling, even when asked. The child may not tell because he or she does not recognise that there is a problem, or may not tell simply because no one asks.

A child may come to your attention through signs and symptoms which can sometimes lead to the child being labelled as a problem rather than a child with problems. Signs and symptoms can include anger and violence to others or to property or a child becoming withdrawn and depressed, taking substances or self-harming.

Prompted telling may happen when an adult asks sensitively about how the child is doing. It helps if you are able to respond thoughtfully to the child’s sign or symptom. It can also happen if you have built up a trusting relationship with a child over time. Children may hint at their situation to test your initial response.

Purposeful telling happens when a child recognises an abusive situation and actively approaches you to tell you about it. This may be some time after the incident, because the child has become increasingly desperate and can't hold it in any longer.