How Caregivers Sometimes Feel When Abuse Has Been Reported

CATEGORY: Caregivers | DATE: April 13, 2017

When abuse is reported, parents or caregivers sometimes feel as if they are on a roller coaster of emotions. This is normal. The report can affect your life in many ways, and it takes time to adjust. The following are some of the common thoughts and feelings of caregivers. You may feel one or more of these, or you may move from one to another.

  1. Denial. Your first reaction may be not to believe or accept the possibility that abuse really happened. Or you may believe it happened but that no real harm was done. Caregivers often experience denial because it is too overwhelming to accept that the abuse occurred and that there will be after-effects. For some people, it takes time to overcome denial and face the realities of abuse.
  2. Anger. At times, you may feel angry at yourself for not protecting the child. You may feel angry at the perpetrator (the person responsible for hurting your child) for what s/he did. You may even feel angry at the child. Be honest about your feelings and share them with a trusted person or group.
  3. Helplessness. You probably do not know what to expect and feel, or that things are out of your control. Some parents may fear that their children will be taken away. Your Victim Advocate can help you to stay informed of how your child’s case proceeds through the system.
  4. Lack of assertiveness. You may feel invisible and think there is nothing you can do to help the situation get better. We will help you to learn what you can do to be an advocate for your child and yourself.
  5. Shock, numbness, repulsion. You may have memories of being abused as a child, which may lead to shock, numbness, and repulsion for the new situation you find yourself in. If so, you may need to seek therapy for yourself to recover from the abuse.
  6. Guilt, self-blame. You may feel it is all your fault. The offender is responsible for the abuse, not you. The best thing you can do now is support your child and learn all you can about how to make things better. Reading this handbook is a good first step.
  7. Hurt and betrayal. It is normal to feel hurt from the loss of your child’s innocence. You also may have lost a spouse or partner if that person was the offender. You may even have lost friends, or even extended families may be divided on the issue. It is very important to take time to grieve for these losses.
  8. Concern about money. You may be worried about finances because of lost income. A Family Advocate or Department of Children and Family Services, (DCFS) Worker, and Crime Victims Reparations is also available at (225) 239-7850, who will work with you to help you get on your feet.
  9. Fear of violence. In homes where violence is common, you may fear the offender will try to harm you or your children. If so, call IRIS, the domestic violence center, at (225)-389- 3001 or 1-(800)-541-9706, or STAR for Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse (225)-383-7273.
  10. Fear of drug or alcohol abuse. You may be afraid that you or the offender will abuse drugs or alcohol because of the stress or that one of you may have a relapse to an old addiction. If you need help, call Capital Area Human Services call 225-925-1910. 1-866-628-2133.