The trauma of sexual abuse causes ripples in families that can last generations. When a child is sexually abused, many emotions and questions will arise. The first thing to remember is to keep a safe space for the child with open lines of communication. As a parent, a trauma like this is extremely upsetting, however, it is important to keep the focus on the child and their emotions.
Keep in mind that comforting words should be a part of your everyday communication with the victim. Phrases like, “I love you”, “It’s not your fault”, and “I believe you and will keep you safe” can help soothe the rising anxieties within a victim.
Coping Resources for Childhood Victims of Sexual Abuse
According to Darkness to Light, an organization responsible for empowering adults to prevent, recognize and react to child sexual abuse, child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than most realize. In fact, they estimate about one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. While only 40% of child sexual abuse victims report their abusers.
What can you do if your child becomes a victim of sexual abuse? First and foremost, report the abuser to the local authorities. Then, contact a sexual abuse laywer for a consultation where you can learn more about your rights and how to pursue justice for your child. For our Chicagoland readers, the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center can help you file a report.
More resources for victims of sexual abuse are available here.
Below is a list of national resources which will help in the coping process for children who are victims of sexual abuse:
- Mental Health Services
- Help for Parents of Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused by Family Members
- Parenting a Child or Youth Who has Been Sexually Abused
- What Parents Need to Know About Sexual Abuse
- Mothers of Sexually Abused Children
- Darkness to Light
Below is a list of resources local to the Chicagoland area which will help in the coping process for children who are victims of sexual abuse:
- Mental Health Services
- Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center
- Illinois Department of Children & Family Services
- Illinois Department of Human Services | Mental Health
- Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault
The above are resources for victims and their families. For a list of resources by state, click here.
If your child was a victim of sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts of America organization or by a priest/church official, the following resources may be helpful:
Looking for a Sexual Abuse Lawyer?
If you have not yet found a sexual abuse lawyer to represent your child, know that you have every right to seek counsel.
The team at Hurley McKenna & Mertz has helped thousands of sexual abuse survivors, including children, on their journey to healing and justice by providing compassionate and experienced representation. Our expertise and commitment is unparalleled and result in favorable outcomes.
If you’re ready, please reach out to us and schedule a free consultation and know that we are here to help.