You trusted that person, and your child trusted your judgment. Now your child’s innocence is gone forever. You’re flooded with an overwhelming sense of hurt, anger and betrayal.
Sadly, sexual assault can occur when you least expect it. In fact, such abuse often occurs in “safe” places in Harrisburg with trusted adults. What can you do when your child is the victim of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania? Here are seven steps you should take to help avoid further damage to your child:
Believe Your Child
If your child tells you about suspected sexual abuse, listen closely and assume he or she is telling the truth. This may be difficult to do if the offender is a family member or close friend, but your belief in your child is key to the healing process.
Yes, you are upset—and rightly so. However, if you lose your temper you may upset your child further, forcing him or her back into a shell. Remember that it took a lot of courage for your child to speak up about the abuse. Take a deep breath and do what you need to do—calmly.
Teach No Shame
Often, a child who has been sexually assaulted feels a sense of shame, even though the abuse was another person’s fault. Assure your child that he or she did nothing wrong.
Keep your child away from the person responsible for the abuse. This might mean that your child switches day care providers or drops an extra-curricular activity at school. It may even require that your child stay away from a specific family member.
Be a Tattletale
Typically, sexual assault or abuse is an ongoing problem, not a one-time incident. The person who assaulted your child may attempt to do so with someone else, so it’s important that you notify the authorities immediately.
Your child will likely have trust issues after being sexually abused. If the abuser was a trusted adult, your child may even have difficultly trusting you. Don’t take it personally. If the abuser was another child, this may affect your child’s social skills with other children. Be patient and do everything you can to calm your child’s fears and repair trust in humanity.
Even if your child seems to be fine, it’s a good idea to talk to a therapist. A counselor skilled in sexual abuse cases in Pennsylvania can help you and your child process the incident, repair trust and prevent further issues.
Call a Lawyer
Your child may suffer a myriad of issues following any sexual assault. Irrational fears, learning problems and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome can all arise from such an incident. You have every right to demand compensation from the abuser—both for the suffering endured and also for any medical or psychological help your child needs to recover. Call Schmidt Kramer at (717) 888-8888 to set up a free initial consultation.