4yo possibly abused - need held and advice re CPS etc(9 Posts)
At a weekend with family, my 4yo ds out of the blue told his 10yo cousin, a girl, that "A man touched my bits". They were outside playing and no one apart from ds and his cousin were there. This was right before they came inside, with the cousin urging my 4yo to tell me what he had just said, but he said nothing except that it was a "secret." The cousin later told me out of earshot of my son, and later as I was trying to process this (and also how to gently coax more information out of my sone) his cousin was asking him further questions but ds just started talking a bunch of kiddie stuff that didn't seem to be relevant or clearly just fabrications at this point (he was saying "...yes there is a bad mad, who wears a mask, and he's Darth vader etc etc; he likes to tell stories like any 4yo).
Dh and I have been trying to piece together what actually was said from what could have been suggested/prompted by the cousin and we are now sure that the only thing we are sure of is that, without another context to link it to, he has said that someone touched him. We really cannot tell if he was just talking boys stuff (they are obsessed with their "bits" at this age) or if this is in fact him telling his cousin of actual abuse which happened. Ds is only ever at preschool or with us, and realistically the only place this could have happened was at school (he is never out of our sight as a general matter).
Ds and his younger brother are at their grandparents' in the country safe and sound for the next few days. Dh and I were advised by the Childline helpline to call CPS to start an investigation and we are frankly almost as terrified of calling CPS as we are of the possibility that something awful in fact has happened to Ds. But finding out is all that really matters now.
My question for mumsnet is can anyone tell me what is going to happen to us once we make this call? What is the process? We are terrified of the "specialist team" swooping in and traumatising Ds even more than he might be (or might not), and generally we are afraid of not having any control over the situation. We know we must make the call because we need to know the truth, but we would be very grateful indeed if anyone could share their experiences, good or bad. We will probably call them now tomorrow, because I want to do this with Dh together (today we waited to get more info from the cousin's mom, who spoke to her again and confirmed what ds said and that it was not said ottherwise in the context of talking about his "bits", i.e. making it less likely that it was just kids' talk).
apologies for the very long post.
What generally happens is that when you call them they will take the information and get one of the social workers to call you back. They will speak to you on the phone and arrange to come out and see you and DS. They will gather information to do a child protection investigation....that sounds scary but in reality it means a chat with you and DH, a chat with your son, and they may ask to contact anyone else relevant e.g. nursery / school and GP. Don't worry, they are highly skilled at talking to children and it will handled sensitively with your son.
In the mean time, don't ask your son any more about it, just let them come and speak to him. Don't try to get any more details out of him.
You are doing the right thing.
Thank you for replying. Yes apart from asking him a bit after it happened we stopped asking him and told his cousin not to ask or mention it again. Ds won't be back at home until Thursday so we will call tomorrow. We just need help figuring out if this is real or just a story. I really hope it is the latter.
but also.. will having a random chat with a stranger really help him open up? I know they are supposed to be the experts but what we don't want to happen is to wind up less sure of what we know and with a big scandalous investigation to answer for with the school etc etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bothered by the school but I am aware of the fact that we could be starting a witch hunt or cast aspersions where they are not warranted (should it just be a story...). You can see why we feel uneasy despite of course wanting to do the best for our son.
phoebe It won't be like that at all.
They won't sit there and question a 4 year old, they will have play therapists and techniques where they can get the information they need from your 4 yo through play, drawings etc etc, he won't even know what's happening.
And as for contacting schools and so on, they are a professional organisation that deal with this kind of thing every day, they will know how best to address this and how to go around getting their answers.
Try to stay calm.
Hopefully he is fine and nothing has happened to him.
thanks SilveryMoon, I think I am panicking and fearing the worst. We know this is over our heads so there is no question but we will call them, but we really appreciate the reassurance.
It's dealt with very sensitively, they use lots of play therapy techniques to draw out the info and I agree, your DS won't even realise he's being questioned. I hope all goes well for your family.
well I don't know what to say. Dh and I just called our local council CPS only to be told that there is nothing they can do for us and that we should speak to Ds' school in the first instance. I cannot see how talking to his school will help us find out whether something in fact happened, and I should think the school has an interest in just trying to pass this off as harmless chat. In any case, we now have zero confidence in going to the cps full stop and feel like we need to find another alternative (a private child psychologist? therapy?). Has anyone experienced this? Is this really the protocol?
Oh. I can't believe that phoebe that is shocking!
I don't know what you should do then. Personally, I wouldn't be keen to discuss it with the school as you don't know what if anything has happened and by who.
Can you maybe contact the NSPCC instead? They might be a bit more helpful
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