Parental guidelines in case your child might someday be the victim of sexual abuse

The instructions on this page provide information for the family and the school about what to do if a child indicates that he or she has been the victim of sexual abuse or exploitation. They are calm, straightforward instructions that will not alarm or frighten your child. We want families and children to be careful...we do not want them to be afraid.

There is always a chance that a child may disclose past acts of exploitation or general feelings of fear. If this happens, we want you to be prepared to help the child. How you react to a child's disclosure of sexual exploitation or fear is a very important part of child protection. Follow the guidelines below if a child indicates that he or she might have been the victim of sexual abuse or exploitation.

Don't

Do

Steps to Take

  1. If you think the child has been physically injured, seek out the appropriate medical attention. Remember, often we do not realize that a child who has been sexually exploited is also physically injured. Do not guess. Let the professionals make an independent judgement about treatment.
  2. You must alert the child protection, youth services, child abuse, or other appropriate social services organizations. The police, sheriff's office, or other law-enforcement agency must also be notified.
  3. Consider the need for counseling or therapy for the child. To ignore the incident, to sweep it under the rug, to act as if it did not happen is not going to help the child deal with the exploitation. In deciding what counselors to use, look for someone who is experienced in cases of sexual victimization. Ask about the number of children they have counseled.