Finding the Courage to Speak Up
"I am a survivor worried about a situation where a child may be at risk."
You have valuable instincts that can help prevent abuse
If you are concerned about the safety of a child, we encourage you to trust your gut feelings. Sometimes vague feelings of discomfort or the sense that “something just isn’t right” can be an indication that something less visible is occurring in the background. Please take time to explore the situation further. We have heard from many adult survivors who “pick up on” early warning signs and signals from adults and children who may be in a risky situation.
You can start by reviewing the information available here at the Online Help Center, gather your thoughts and make a plan that fits your situation. There are many steps that can be taken before a child is harmed. You don’t have to wait until there is “proof” that abuse has occurred to act. Start Over and change your answers to match the situation you are concered about and get more information.
"I am concerned that the person who abused me will harm a child now."
Find allies who share your concerns
Some survivors are able to safely re-establish relationships to the people who sexually abused them. Others choose or must maintain a distance to be or feel safe. If you feel that the person who abused you currently poses a threat to a child or teen, it is important to share your concerns with others who can be allies to you in taking steps to protect this young person.
Perhaps you are recognizing signs of risk in the child or the adult. Maybe this child is near the age when you yourself suffered abuse. We urge you to trust your intuitions and act on your instincts by speaking to other adults who can take steps to protect this child from risk or harm. If it is safe to do so, help determine who could be the best person to alert this adult to his or her worrisome behaviors.
As a survivor, your experience can help everyone involved
Learn the statute of limitations in your state for reporting child sexual abuse. Filing reports about your own abuse (with the support of a counselor) can be a step to take if you believe that the same person who harmed you may have abused someone who is now a minor. If others are already concerned, your coming forward can help ease the burden of disclosure the child or teen may be facing.
If you believe that this child has already been sexually abused you can file a report directly with child protective services or the police.
Your Help CenterPrivacy
- 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