Studies show that 20% of adult females and up to 10% of adult males recall being sexually assaulted as a child.
Sadly, many of these will go unreported because 75% of child sexual assault victims are victimized by someone that they know. If your child confesses to you that they were a victim of sexual assault, there are certain things you can do to minimize the lasting effects of this trauma.
Keep reading to discover what steps you should take if your child has been a victim of sexual assault.
Listen and Make Them Feel Safe
The very first thing that should happen when a child tells you about a sexual assault occurrence is to stop and listen to exactly what they are saying. Never stop their confession and try to convince them that nothing happened. You need to validate their story.
Start by asking for them to tell you the whole story. Try asking them to replicate the sexual assault on a doll or stuffed animal so you can get a better idea of exactly what happened. Do your best to ask questions and get as many details as possible.
If the child sexual assault story has the same details after your questioning, odds are the child is being honest.
Alert the Police
Once you’re convinced that the story your child is telling is accurate, you need to alert the police. This may be hard if the person who committed the assault is a family member or friend, but that doesn’t make the crime any less illegal.
Ask the police to send someone who is experienced is aggravated sexual assault of a child. They’ll know how to gently gather a statement from the child and how to press charges.
Even if the sexual abuse happened years ago, you should still alert the police. Recently there have been new legislature passed that changes the statutes of limitations when it comes to child sexual abuse crimes. Learn more about the New York Child Victims Act here.
Get Them Help, Physically and Emotionally
The steps of recovery for a victim of sexual assault don’t end after the assault is reported to the police. The effects of sexual assault on a child can result in trauma for the rest of their lives.
In fact, child sexual assault victims are four times as likely to develop PTSD and three times as likely to develop depression.
Look for sexual assault victim resources in your area. A good therapist and family practitioner will be able to guide you on the next steps to take.
Don’t Let Being a Victim of Sexual Assault Define Their Life
If your child has recently told you that they have been a victim of sexual assault, it’s your time to step up and make them feel safe and validated.
Start by listening to their story and taking the appropriate steps to make them feel safe while reassuring them that the occurrence wasn’t their fault. Then, alert the police to report the crime and see if charges can be filed. Finally, realize that victims of sexual assault will need a little extra help to recover both physically and emotionally.
Wondering what steps you should prepare your child for if charges are made against the person who assaulted them? Be sure to browse the rest of the legal content on this site.