How can help my child?
Be aware of the bravery it took for your child to come forward. Provide safety, love and support. Let them know it is okay to cry or be mad. Make sure your child understands it is not his or her fault and that THEY ARE NOT IN TROUBLE.
Some things you can say...
- I believe you.
- I know it's not your fault.
- I'm glad I know about it.
- I'm sorry this happened to you.
- I will take care of you.
- I'm not sure what will happen next.
- Nothing about YOU made this happen. It has happened to other children too.
- You don't need to take care of me.
- I am upset, but not with you.
- I'm angry at the person who did this to you.
- I'm sad. You may see me cry. That's all right. I will be able to take care of you. I am not mad at you.
- You can still love someone but hate what they did to you.
Some things you can do...
- Try to stay away from displays of shock, disgust or uncontrolled responses.
- Get immediate medical attention if necessary. Contact local medical professionals to determine who is best qualified to examine the child for the necessary physical effects of sexual abuse and to test for sexually transmitted diseases, if necessary.
- Return to normal routine as soon as possible.
- See that you child receives therapy as soon as possible. Trying to ignore the problem usually causes more issues.
- Find help for yourself. You don't have to do it all by yourself. Contact your local crisis center for assistance.
- Teach your child the rules of personal safety. Tell them what to do if someone tries to touch them in an uncomfortable way.
- Be careful NOT to question your child about the abuse. If you do, you can jeopardize the case in court against your child's abuser. Specially trained professionals at the Child Advocacy Center will interview your child to obtain the necessary information without harming the case or further traumatizing him/her. If your child wants to talk about it LISTEN SUPPORTIVELY, but do not probe.
- Keep your child away from the person suspected of the abuse. This is to protect you, that person and most importantly the child.
- Avoid discussing the case with other victims or their families.
- NEVER coach or advise your child on how to act or what to say to professionals or investigators. This could seriously damage the case.
- Your child may need an extra sense of physical security. Stay close, and assure your child will keep him/her safe.
- Remember to give attention to your other children and to keep to the normal schedule as much as possible.