What should I do?

Listen…

If your child tells you that he/she has been sexually abused, they probably feel very anxious and embarrassed about what has happened.

So, although you will naturally feel very upset yourself, try not to react in a way that adds to their distress. For example, with disbelief or blame.

It is important not to react in a negative or angry way to your child’s disclosure, but rather to listen and not judge or question them.

It is vital to the child’s wellbeing that you listen and tell them that you believe them when they tell you the ‘secret.’ Only then can he/she begin to get back to some kind of ‘normality’ in their lives.

As the parent, it might benefit you to have support to deal with all of the issues and feelings that are affecting you from the disclosure. You are not alone, but knowing that isn’t always helpful.

You can also receive support from Lanarkshire Rape Crisis…(01698 527003).

It is imperative that the child is protected from the abuser, and if he (the abuser), has access to the child from being a member of the same family for example, you must ensure that he no longer has any contact with the child. This is important to the child because secrecy is formed out of many types of threats, and the child may feel frightened for his/her life, or indeed for somebody elses life, (eg., mum, dad, dog).

Support, listen and protect your child, and seek support for yourself to help you to cope with this traumatic situation.

Try your best to:

  • keep calm
  • listen very carefully to what your child tells you
  • make clear that you believe what they are telling you
  • allow your child to tell you as much as they want to about the abuse, but do not force them to talk about it
  • tell your child that they have done the right thing in telling you
  • tell them that they are not to blame for the abuse.