Help for Adults to Stop Abusing

You can stop

Treatment for people who struggle with harmful or abusive sexual behaviors is available. If you are motivated to stop abusive behaviors and to get specialized treatment, you can learn to change your behaviors and live a healthy, fulfilling, and productive life. Having the support and encouragement of friends and families can also help you through the process of completing treatment and living a life free from abuse.

Safety planning and immediate help

When there’s a child who is at immediate risk

Stop all contact with that child. Leave the situation and if you’re that child’s caretaker, find someone else to care for the child. If you feel able, tell another adult why you need their help. If you’re not able to explain the truth, give a more general reason for the time being; tell them there is more, but you can't explain everything that is going on right now. For example, “I need to take some time alone right now, and I realize I’m not telling you the whole story – please understand that this is what I need to do right now.” The most important thing to do first is to eliminate the opportunity to harm a child. Then, from a safe place, create a more complete plan with the assistance of other adults and professionals.

Some other suggestions for safety planning:

  • Seek a trusted adult or professional and find a way to talk to them as directly and honestly as possible to let them know what's going on 
  • Avoid being around any children alone
  • Avoid any substance use or abuse
  • Stay off the internet if illegal images are too tempting - unplug, if necessary
  • Stay busy and productive - if you have a job that doesn’t involve children, attend work
  • Don’t isolate yourself and make an effort to spend time with adult friends
  • Do something each day that makes you feel good about yourself
  • If needed, find a safe place to stay temporarily while you sort things out
  • A good treatment provider will help you figure out how to best set up a personalized safety plan for the long-term, and help you learn how to stick to it