Parents and Carers

Has your child been sexually abused or affected by sexual abuse? We are here to help treat your child and support you.

We work with the child victim and their family to help them all overcome the effects of the abuse and move on to a more positive life.
We are a service that works with children and young people who have been sexually abused or affected by child sexual abuse and offer support to their families. Once a disclosure has been made and the Police and/or Social Care services are aware we can offer your child and your family a service that fits their needs. We will help you, your child and your family find a much more positive future.

Q: My child has just disclosed. What do I do?

A: Re-assure them that they have done the right thing and that you are very proud of them for being brave – take some deep breaths and tell yourself that you can cope – if the alleged abuser is in the house you are going to need to take yourself and your children to a safe place so you can phone the Police and/or social care services – a neighbour – relative – the school – GP.

Q:   What happens if I report this to the GP or Social Services?

A: In most cases you and your child will be spoken to and arrangements will be made for you to attend a SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) where specially trained staff will be there to guide you through the whole process in a child friendly environment.

Q: What will the police do once they have been informed about the abuse?

A: The police will speak with yourself and interview your child with a social worker present.

Q: What will Social Services do once they have been notified about the abuse?

A: They will make sure your child is safe and that the alleged abuser is not having contact with your child whilst the investigation is going on.

Q: Will my child be medically examined?

A: If your child needs to be medically examined this will be done by a paediatrician and most likely take place at a SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) where they are specially trained to guide you through the whole process.

Q: Can my child ever recover from this?

A: Sexual abuse affects children and young people to different degree; some are more resilient than others. The amount of trauma suffered by a child depends on many factors. It is definitely something that children can overcome to lead happy, successful lives. Resulting distorted thinking, taking on feelings of blame, shame and guilt is damaging to the child and the earlier it is dealt with the better. There are many successful ways of helping a child process their abuse and strategies to put in place to overcome symptoms.

Q: Will my child be damaged for life?

A: Your child can go on to lead a happy, full, successful life following Child Sexual Abuse. But there will be times when they can be triggered back to the abuse. We all get triggers good or bad… a smell… a sound… a piece of music... They will be able to use their coping strategies to overcome any bad triggers and those close to them will be able to help should it happen. Also over the years they will desensitise.

Q: How do I get help for my child?

A: Unfortunately help is patchy but is getting better. If you live in Suffolk, Norfolk or North Essex you can ask the SARC (Sexual Abuse Referral Centre), your GP, School Nurse, Police Officer or other professional to refer you to us – our forms can be found here.

Q: Should I tell my other children?

A: Sexual abuse thrives where there are secrets so it is always a good idea to be open. The younger siblings will need to be aware that it is personal so they need to only talk about it with close family. They also only need limited details according to the age and understanding and the fact that this is one person’s private information.

Q: I don’t have a Social Worker any more

A: Social Workers only become involved to make sure the child is safe from being abused again. Once they are assured that the main carer, usually the mother, is protecting the child they will close the case. So this can be seen as a positive.

Q: Why didn't my child’s case go to Court?

A: Getting evidence in child abuse cases is very difficult. The child says it happened the alleged abuser says it did not. Unless there is forensic evidence it is one person’s word against another’s. Just because it does not go to court does not mean that the child was not believed.

Q: I feel so guilty.

A: This is such a normal reaction for a parent. Abusers are very clever, not only do they groom the child but they also groom the parent into trusting them. Most adult abusers appear to be such nice, decent people who have many friends. You need to remember to put the blame where it belongs; on the abuser. They are the ones that planned to harm your child and they would have found a way of doing this, no matter what you did.

Q: How will I ever trust again?

A: It will be difficult, take time and maybe you will never be as trusting as you were but you will gradually begin to trust. It will not be a bad thing to question more. Here we talk about a ladder of trust and what a person has to do to climb that ladder.

Q: How can I help my child?

A: By being there and being constant. It will be more difficult for you because as the parent or main carer you will be the one that all the emotions will be exploded upon. You will be the one that will be sworn at or ignored. Your child will be hurting: you are the safe one to hurt back because your love is unconditional. Listen when they talk to you, do not be afraid of them seeing you cry. Cry together, validate their feelings, encourage them to write it down, encourage them to get therapy. Be kind to yourself. Get yourself support.

Q: Can we recover?

A: Yes you can. It is especially successful when all the family want to work on recovery as they are able to help each other.

Q: My child still cares about the abuser.

A: The majority of abusers are family members so often abuse can be mixed up with loving family relationships – there have been a lot of fun times mixed in with the not fun times. The child will miss being made to feel special by the abuser. There will be some grieving for the missing abuser who was a large part of the child’s life, while at the same time relief that the abuse has stopped. The abuser could have been a pseudo boyfriend/girlfriend. Children’s feelings do need to be validated.