There are certain things you should do if a child tells you about sexual abuse. Click here to learn more about what to do for sexually abused teens & children.
Realizing your child has been sexually abused is one of the worst feelings in the world. Authorities estimate that one in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under 18 will suffer sexual abuse.
The effects of sexual abuse are traumatic and can be catastrophic. Sexually abused teens and children are four times more likely to develop drug addiction and three times more likely to suffer from depression as adults.
However, neither sexually abused children nor their parents are defenseless. There is a large network of specialized social workers, sympathetic attorneys, and expert police officers ready to help. Read on to learn more about what to do for sexually abused teens and children.
Defining Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a horrible crime in all its forms, but sometimes it’s not obvious. By definition, all the following are considered sexual abuse and are persecuted by law:
- Any form of physical contact with sexual intent
- Forcing a child to touch an abuse with sexual intent
- Creating, distributing, or owning child pornography
- Exposing a child to any form of pornography
- Performing sexual acts in front of a child
There are several other actions that constitute sexual abuse. The court decides the severity of punishment for each sexual offender based on the extent of abuse and the offender’s mental status.
Today, victims of sexual abuse are more protected than ever. For example, since February 2019, the New York Child Victims Act has expanded the rights of sexual abuse victims to further protects those most vulnerable.
What to Do If a Child Discloses Sexual Abuse
It takes bravery for a child to tell you they have been sexually abused. Breaking the silence is the first step, but parents or caretakers have to take it from there.
The first thing you should do is to reassure the child they are going to be okay. Sexual abuse is traumatic but with the right support, the child can go on and live a happy and productive life.
False disclosures are rare, so believe in your child. Listen closely to what they have to say. Thank the child for telling you and don’t dismiss their claims, even if they sound terrible.
Try to remain calm throughout the whole process, as your emotions might further distress the child. Instead, focus to build trust and safety with the child, and channel your outrage towards responsible.
Finally, you should report sexual abuse as soon as possible. There are several ways you can report abuse to the authorities:
- Call 911 if your child is in immediate danger
- Visit your local police station and file a report
- Take the child to a medical center for medical treatment for injuries resulting from sexual abuse
Whatever you do, don’t try to handle the problem yourself, and don’t think it can go away if you remain silent!
Do You Know Sexually Abused Teens and Children? Act Today!
With proven expertise in the areas of family law, shoplifting, sexual offenses, drug offenses, fire accidents and many more, we know what it takes to champion the case of sexually abused teens and children.
Our sympathetic lawyers help clients who have suffered from sexual abuse. Contact us today to find out how we can protect your rights or the rights of your children.