Considering Filing Reports
For the person who has been victimized:
Whatever is revealed by a child who has been victimized, reassure them that you love them and that you are committed to helping them. Recognize that many children are not able to tell about what happened, or may take back or “recant” their disclosure of abuse when questioned by authorities or other adults. Children will look to adults for reassurance that they will be all right, especially if they feel that the world around them is in chaos. Keep reminding yourself that healing for everyone is possible.
For the person abusing:
Anyone who is harming a child sexually also needs help and guidance to stop the behavior. Sometimes, in the most serious cases and depending upon the age of the person who has been abusive, reporting may result in legal consequences. Although this can be a difficult process for everyone involved, when combined with specialized treatment, it may be the best way to prevent further harm and even harsher future consequences.
For the whole family:
Reporting the abuse to authorities is an upsetting prospect for many families. Yet, filing a report can be a first step to accessing support services. Children who are abused and their families need help to recover from their trauma. Adults, children and youth frequently respond best to specialized, sex-specific treatment when it is offered early and with the support of trusted adults. Sexual abuse affects all members of a family or group. The entire family, including the adults, is likely to need support.
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- Recognizing Warning Signs
- Definitions of Child Sexual Abuse
- How Abuse Happens
- Understanding Sexual Behavior in Kids
- Warning Signs in Adults and Children
- Warning Signs of Abuse in Children (Behavioral and Physical)
- Signs an Adult May be At-Risk to Harm a Child
- Behaviors to Watch Out for When Adults are with Children
- How Can I Tell if My Child Has Been Sexually Abused?
- Warning Signs a Young Person May Be a Target of Online Sexual Abuse
- Warning Signs of Someone's Dangerous or Illegal Online Activity
- Prevention and Safety
- Keys to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children
- Creating a Plan for Safety
- Considering Filing Reports
- Talking About It
- Finding the Courage to Speak Up
- Speaking to Someone with a Sexual Behavior Problem
- When a Child Tells About Sexual Abuse
- How Should I Respond to the Child?
- What Should I Do after a Child Tells?
- How Can I Better Understand What My Child is Going Through?
- Possible Reactions of Non-Offending Parents and Caring Adults
- Is the Child Telling Me the Truth?
- What Might the Person Who Has Offended Be Thinking or Feeling after a Disclosure?
- Recovery and Therapy
- For Children and Adults Who Have Been Abused
- For Those At-Risk to Abuse Others or Who Have Offended
- For Parents and Caregivers
- Reporting and Legal Issues
- Filing Reports
- Child Protective Services and Police
- Legal Issues