Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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What should I do if my children or I are being abused?

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Call 911 if you or someone in your home is in immediate danger. We also recommend getting help from the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-228-7395.

It’s hard to talk about child and partner abuse, even with close friends or family. Most children who are being abused are also reluctant to talk about it. This section will help you handle these problems. If you are being abused, or you think your children are being abused, don’t ignore it. Abuse is a serious problem, and you can get help. Again, we recommend the Vermont Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-228-7395. Or you may know a trusted person, such as a school counselor or health care provider, who you can talk to. Be aware that these professionals are legally required to report child abuse. If you believe your child is being sexually abused, contact the Vermont Children’s Alliance. If you suspect there is abuse in your home, or in the home of a child in your life, visit the Kids Guide and Teen Guide with the child. Go through all topics in a general way, including the “People Getting Hurt” and “Abuse at Home” information. Then, let the children go through this guide privately.

These Guides for kids and teens cover:

  • What abuse can look like.
  • Abuse is not your fault, no matter what.
  • You are not alone.
  • Getting help from a trusted adult.
  • How to break the cycle of abuse.
  • Calling 9-1-1 if there is immediate danger.

If an abused child reaches out to you for support, you should listen. Next, you should seek professional help for the child.

If you are being abused, remember:

  • It isn’t your fault. You are not causing your abuse or bringing it on yourself.
  • You can’t change the person who is abusing you or your children.
  • You are not alone. You can get help!
  • You can get out of this situation. There are resources for you and your children.
  • If you or your children are in danger, call 911 or the Vermont DV Hotline now.

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