When You’re Concerned About Your Own Thoughts or Behaviors…
1. Acknowledge signs that something is not right
Admitting to yourself that you may have a problem takes courage, and is your first step towards finding help. Sexual thoughts or fantasies about children is a warning sign to pay attention to, particularly if the thoughts are persistent. If you are reading this website you have already considered that there is a risk that must be addressed. While it can be scary or embarrassing to talk about this, you are not alone.
Learn more about recognizing warning signs in adults.
2. Recognize the problem
Being honest with yourself about some very difficult personal issues, allows you to address behaviors that can be harmful to you and to a child. When adults who are at-risk to sexually abuse a child can stop making excuses for the behavior, or justifying it as “no big deal,” they are able to begin to take responsibility for what is really happening. By holding yourself accountable for any sexual behaviors with children, you are able to move towards stopping the harm and starting your own recovery.
Use this questionnaire to assess your situation.
3. Stop the abuse
When the abuse stops there is relief from the shame and secrecy. The child or teen can begin to heal, and you can begin the process of recovery. With help and support from professionals and other trusted adults, you can stop.
Learn more about how you can stop.
4. Find the help you need
Learning to stop disturbing thoughts or sexually harmful behavior is rarely something that can be accomplished alone. By breaking your isolation you can reach out for help to change your behaviors and live a healthy and productive life. Treatment for sexual behavior problemsi is available from professionals who understand adults who struggle with these issues. Having the support and "tough love" of friends and families can help you through the process of completing treatment and staying safe.
Learn more about where to find specialized help.
5. Get your legal questions answered
Having more information about what could happen next makes it easier to make informed decisions about what steps to take now. To learn about the law and legal impacts on individuals, you can talk confidentially to a lawyer. Being prepared and knowing what options you have and what decisions must be made will enable you to make the best choices so the abuse will stop and everyone can get the help they need.
Find an attorney.