Help for Parents of Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

Help for Parents of Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

If you find out or suspect that your child has been sexually abused, it can feel overwhelming and affect not only your child but you as their parent.

It is important to find a way to manage your feelings, so you can focus on creating an environment for your child that is safe and free from judgment and blame. If your child discloses to you, it is important that you continue to repeat the following messages through both your words and your actions:

  • I love you and that will never change.
  • What happened is not your fault.
  • I will do everything I can to keep you safe.

If your child is in danger, don’t hesitate to call the Police and your local area Safeguarding Team (Children’s Services).

How am I supposed to react?

There is no right or wrong way of reacting.  It helps to have someone you trust that can support you, which could be a friend or relative.  You could also talk with an ISVA who can support you as the parent of a child who has experienced sexual violence.  You may have many different feelings that affect your life at home and at work. Some common reactions from parents include:

  • shock 
  • anger
  • anxiety 
  • fear 
  • overwhelming Sadness 

How do I manage these feelings?

Your child may want to talk to you about their feelings, which can be difficult for a parent, so it will help if you take care of yourself.  You could:

  • consider talking to a Counsellor,
  • develop your support system. It might be family and friends you trust, or you could find a local support group,
  • set aside time for activities to distract you,
  • practice self-care to keep your mind and body healthy. This might be journaling, meditation or a fitness activity.

How can I report?

  • by calling your local police station and telling them about the abuse,
  • by visiting your local SARC. Children cannot go to a SARC independently; Police or social care must be involved and will arrange for them to go,
  • by speaking to Children’s Services at the local Council offices,
  • by speaking to an ISVA.
Get in touch via isva@idas.org.uk or ring our helpline on 03000 110 110.
“I just want to thank you. When I first came to you, I had nobody to talk to about the rape and you totally supported me through the whole process. You walked me all the way through everything and made sense of a horrible situation I was in and I don’t know how I would have managed alone. You literally saved my life.”