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How do I support my child or teen that has been sexually assaulted?

16 Answers
Last Updated: 09/08/2020 at 11:25am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jennifer Fritz, LMSW, PhD

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Day to day life can be stressful and overwhelming and my strength is assisting my clients in a supportive, empowering and practical manner.

Top Rated Answers
November 7th, 2014 7:04am
In such cases, children often tend to blame themselves for whatever happened. You need to make them understand that assault was made by some third person and the child is nowhere at fault. However, also encourage him to raise his voice out whenever somebody tries to touch him forcefully. Assure him that he will not be looked down upon by anyone.
December 15th, 2014 12:15pm
Be next to your child or teen all the time. Give her some time,but also be next to her because she/he feels scared and she/he doesn't trust anyone anymore. Make your child trust you. Give her/his some time to stay home, but stay with her/him so she/he won't feel unsafe. Be with your child all the time so he/she will feel safe. It's so hard for your child :/ then you can go out at a park or picnic, or somewhere so she/he will start standing again at her/his feet :D I hope I helped :D you can also chat me here:
December 26th, 2014 3:05pm
Listen: first and foremost, do not allow yourself to interrupt. Support:let your child know you are there for them no matter what. This may mean allowing them space, or wrapping them in a bear hug. Make sure they know you will be there to guide ans support them through this process, that they will never be alone in it. Take Action: Seek help with them, help them navigate to find the right professionals be it police, doctors, nurses, counselors ot other people who can help. Help make surethey use those and other resources they may need. Allow: Thissi the hardest, you have to allow them to process as need, this may or may not include you directly, you will also have to allow them to be sad, angry, depressed, loud or quiet. Please allow them their feelings . Self care: You may need care too, do not rely on the victim to provide this, please seek outside help such as a professional. The situation ,aybe triggering, it might make you feel your child is lashing out or upset with you. Professionals can help you understand what is going on, why and how you can best be helped. They may also have mroe resources for you and your child that you did not know about. Hardest to hear for the victim but needed: This was not your fault, you did not ask for this and You deserve so much better for yourself. I love you, I am here and I will always support you no matter what!
October 31st, 2014 4:08am
It is important to encourage counseling so that the child or teen can get help from a professional who knows how to deal with such things. Never push your child to talk about it, but be available if he or she wants to.
December 6th, 2014 3:03am
Let your child know that you are there for them. try your best to keep the child comfortable and feeling safe.
December 8th, 2014 7:58pm
You should provide them with emotional support and believe them to begin with mot importantly. Listen to them and be there for them and do whatever you can to bring them justice. The best thing you can do at this time is to try and overcome their emotional and mental state rather than suppress it.
December 21st, 2014 9:45pm
Listen to them, make sure that they know it is not your fault and try to only convey supportive emotions that tell them they did the right thing telling you and that they can tell you more if they need to-showing emotions such as horror or shock can be easily misunderstood by the child as you not liking them/being horrified with them rather than the abuse so its best to focus on the fact that they put their trust in you, always take them seriously and avoid leading questions-they will say what they are ready to say. Never promise to keep their secret and always inform appropriate agencies-police, child services, therapist.. To help the child with recovery, allow for expression through art, role play, small world toys, as well as books that are specifically designed for children who have suffered trauma, other books that convay meaninful messages are equally beneficial. Trying to keep the childs environment and surroundings as trigger free as possible can allow them the time they need to heal-e.g. no violent tv, having a night light etc. Try to keep the child/teens routine, yes acknowledge what they have been through and support them but still treat them the same, they are still the same person, but just someone who has been through a lot, as a parent or care giver its easy to try and over compensate-shower them with gifts, but non of that will help them-what helps is listening, time, understanding and professional care.
January 2nd, 2015 6:05am
Having a child or teen going through an event such as a sexual assault is hard. First of all as a parent or a guardian or even a teacher you need to be approachable and non judgemental. Try not to generalise the event since everyones experience is unique.
April 29th, 2015 5:38am
The most important thing you can do is to be there. If they need someone to talk to be the one that they can talk to. If they want to go out and get some ice cream be the one who takes them. Children and teenagers that have been through such traumatic experiences aren't going to want to be bombarded by questions as soon as you find out. You should give them time to forget about it and get over it. It would help if you would read up on closure methods so you can assist your child or teen in moving on. I hope this helped!
May 3rd, 2015 1:43am
Just be there for them. Remember they have had an experience that they are trying there best to forget. It's okay that there is a little distance. Just remember it's going to take time for them to heal. So be patient and be there for them when they need you.
June 18th, 2015 2:18am
The best you can do is remind them that none of what happend is their fault and set them up with a counseling. Be understanding if it takes them awhile to get things togther.
October 26th, 2015 4:00pm
Try to include them in everything you do. make them feel safe and let them know that even though something bad happened you are always there and you will protect them
April 13th, 2018 10:06pm
Try to get them connected to a counselor if they are open to it. Someone experience in working with teen victims of sexual assault/abuse. Offer support and care but respect the boundaries they set for you.
March 12th, 2019 12:55pm
The best thing you can do for them is to just be there for them and love them endlessly. Comfort them and love them through sadness, tears, pain, hurt, anger and frustration. That's the best way to support your child/teen - for them to know they can always lean into your loving arms and you'll always be there even if you don't understand. I was a victim myself of sexual abuse and that worked miracles for me, knowing my parents were there and weren't angry at me and that they love me still. So just love your child, that's the best you can do
July 21st, 2020 11:06pm
The best thing you can do for your child is to be there for them and to listen to their frustrations, trauma, and worries. As a parent, your child views you as their emotional pillar of wisdom and support. It is also good to check in on your child throughout the day to see how they're doing and to emphasize the amount of trust they can have in you. Additionally, it's important to not push them into saying things until they're uncomfortable. Regarding situations such as sexual assault, it is best to let your child talk about the things they're comfortable with at the time and to let them slowly reveal more of their thoughts as time progresses.
September 8th, 2020 11:25am
Sexual Assault is a sensitive topic. For both, you and the other person. If they talk to you about it, you should first just hold them. They've taken the biggest step and the scariest one - they told someone. Give yourself a day to understand and absorb the information. You don't need to respond at that moment. You can take some time and think. If they know the person, you can decide whether or not your child/teen would want to take action against them. You can try talking to them and making them understand what choices they have. If they need professional help from a therapist, do let them know it's available. Above all, just make sure they know that you are there for them and supporting them. At that point, that matters the most. Hope this helps! :)