Take the time to talk to your child.
- Be calm and confident before discussing this topic with your child.
- Do not scare your child; your tone should be neutral, educational and empowering.
- Let your child know that you are always there for him/her and always want to protect him/her.
- Teach your child that the parts of their body that a bathing suit covers are private parts and that no one is allowed to see or touch them there.
- Have your child identify 5 safe people they can talk to if someone ever makes them uncomfortable.
- Make talking to your child about personal safety an ongoing dialogue rather than a single conversation.
- It’s important not to interrogate children. Ask simple, open-ended questions in a calm manner: "Has anyone ever made you feel uncomfortable or scared? Has anyone ever asked you to keep a secret?"
- Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
- Pain, swelling, or itching in genital area
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Excessive seductiveness, inappropriate sex play, or premature understanding of sex
- Role reversal, overly concerned for siblings
- Significant weight change
- Suicide attempts (especially adolescents)
- Threatened by physical contact or closeness
- Extreme fear of being alone with adults, especially if of a particular gender
- Sudden refusal to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
- Sexual victimization of other children
- Major change in normal mood or behavior
First, try to keep your natural reactions under control. You may want to react with a verbal or physical outburst. It is best to share these reactions only with another adult at a later time.
DO YOUR BEST NOT TO CONFRONT THE ALLEGED OFFENDER ABOUT THE DISCLOSURE.
Your child needs to know that you believe them unconditionally. The best support that you can provide is believing them. It is your responsibility to report the abuse, not to prove the abuse occurred.
REMEMBER: Children will rarely lie about being sexually abused. They are more likely to deny that it happened after a disclosure is made in fear of repercussions.
Help us continue to provide hope, healing & justice for abused children.
Last year, the Will County Children's Advocacy Center served more than 430 Will County children (and their non-offending family members) who were sexually abused, severely physically abused, or who had witnessed a violent crime.
Children who have been victimized and receive program services at the Will County CAC, are less likely to: abuse drugs or alcohol, grow up to become victims of domestic violence, become involved in some sort of criminal activity, suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or develop suicidal ideation and self-harm.
Your financial gift can make a profound difference in changing a child’s life.