How to Act toward your child if they have been abused

CATEGORY: Caregivers | DATE: October 14, 2018

Provide safety, love, and support. Let them know it is okay to cry or to be mad. Make sure your child understands it is not his or her fault. Don’t coach or pressure your child to talk about things.

Some things you can say that will really help your child:

  • 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.
  • I’m sad. You may see me cry. That’s all right. I will be able to take care of you. I’m not mad at you.
  • I don’t know why the person did it. S/he has a problem.
  • You can still love someone but hate what they did to you.

Some Things You Can Do:

  • Return to a normal routine as soon as possible.
  • See that your child receives therapy as soon as possible. Trying to sweep the problem under the rug usually causes more problems because it will not go away.
  • Find help for yourself. You don’t have to do it all on your own. Contact the CAC 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 CAC will interview your child to obtain the necessary information without harming the case or causing further trauma. 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 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.
  • Avoid the suspect.
  • Your child may need an extra sense of physical security. Stay close, and assure your child that you will keep him/her safe.
  • Remember to give attention to your other children.