What would the abuser have said or done to my child to stop them from telling me?

Abusers will often use a combination of gifts or treats and threats about what will happen if the child says ‘no’ or tells someone. They may scare the child with threats of being hurt physically, but much more often the threat is about what will be lost if they tell e.g. the family breaking up or someone going to prison. To stop the child from telling anyone, the abuser will use the child’s fear, embarrassment or guilt about what is happening, often convincing them that no one will believe them or that the child will be punished. Sometimes the abuser will tell the child that they enjoyed it and wanted it to happen and this can be very confusing and upsetting.