If your child has disclosed some kind of abuse, or if you suspect it, we have a range of resources and advice for parents and caregivers that can help.
Of course, the team at HELP are always here, so if you have any other questions, need support or would like to talk the situation through with anyone, contact us.
Helping Young People
If your teen tells you that they have been sexually abused, you are likely to experience a range of emotional responses. How you react though, will make a difference to their journey towards healing. Read up on what parents and caregivers can do following a teen’s disclosure of abuse.
Helping Adult Partners, Friends, and Siblings
Being a partner or close friend to a survivor can be an important role. Supporting and respecting the survivor is important and can aid significantly in their healing, reminding them that they are both worthy and lovable. Sexual abuse is not only a sexual violation but an emotional violation as well i.e. it may impact on many different aspects the person’s life.
Wanting to help and being scared and/or angry are all understandable responses to discovering your partner or friend has been sexually abused. The best way to help and to reduce any of your own anxieties is to listen. If they don’t want to talk about it, do not push them.
Remember something terrible has happened to them, but this is not all that they are. Remember their strengths and that they are more than just this awful experience that they have been through. Recognise their need to feel empowered and talk with them about the things that can help or that may enable them to feel more in control again. Having control over who and when they tell things is an important aspect of control for many survivors.
HELP has compiled a list of general ways to be supportive toward a survivor. Read through them and get some ideas that may be useful in your situation.
If you’re angry, let them know that you are angry on their behalf, but its best to take the anger somewhere else. They might be frightened of your anger, or frightened of what you might do with it. Try to normalise your own reactions and manage your feelings. You may want to increase your gym or exercise time, or talk to someone else who can handle it.
Remember: patience, support and education for yourself around the impacts of abuse will be helpful for you both.