If a child Tells You About Abuse
- Remain calm.
- Believe the child.
- Assure them they were right to tell and it was not their fault.
- Assure the child you will do everything to keep then safe.
- You are then legally obligated to report to one of the following numbers
24 hour helpline for child abuse or neglect (toll free in BC) You do not need an area code. You can call at any time of the day or night and you do not have to give your name.
Local Ministry of Children and Family Development, Child Protection office
Only strangers sexually abuse children.
95% of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by someone known and trusted by the child and family members. Offenders use the relationship to manipulate, bribe and coerce children into sexual abuse. It is not enough to just teach children “stranger danger.”
Children lie about sexual abuse.
Children do not have the explicit sexual knowledge necessary to describe an incident they have not experienced. Children are more likely to say the sexual abuse did not occur in order to protect the offender and/or family unit.
Sexual abuse is always violent and painful.
While many people believe that sexual abuse is physically violent, it is more often psychologically coercive. For the most part, the child is engaged by means of persuasion, bribes, and threats, rather than by extreme physical force. In addition, we are born with bodies that respond to touch, especially our genitals. The pleasure a child feels during sexual abuse creates confusion, shame and doubt. This reinforces the offender’s goal of secrecy. Although the child may not always be physically forced, responsibility always lies with the offending adult, not with the child.
Counselling After Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a traumatic event in the life of children and families, it distorts their sense of their word, their self concept and capacities. Counselling can assist families in the following ways:
- Normalizes the trauma through support and education.
- Provides a safe place to express thoughts and feelings through art and play therapy.
- Rebuilds personal capacity.
- Rebuilds the child’s self-concept,value and worth.
- Rebuilds trust in self, others and the world
- Renews hope and optimism.
This program is sponsored by United Way Northern British Columbia. We also thank the Province of British Columbia and our generous community for the financial support.