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Immediate access to over 50 articles addressing life issues after the discovery or disclosure of childhood sexual abuse
The brain of a child who has endured chronic trauma is not open and available for learning. These children’s thoughts are in the lower, more primitive areas of their brains that control survival.
While we as adults know that the child is generally safe at school, these children are consistently terrified unless certain actions are taken to make them feel safe so that the higher parts of their brains may be turned on for learning.
When a child has been the victim of a trauma, it can manifest itself differently. PTSD 504 accommodations need to be followed consistently. Quite often, it is attributed to other things, such as learning disabilities or mental illness, when in fact, the learning disability or mental illness may resolve itself because it is secondary to the adverse childhood experience.
By: Office for Victims of Crime
Vicarious trauma is an occupational challenge for people working and volunteering in the fields of victim services, law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire services, and other allied professions, due to their continuous exposure to victims of trauma and violence. This work-related trauma exposure can occur from such experiences as listening to individual clients recount their victimization; looking at videos of exploited children; reviewing case files; hearing about or responding to the aftermath of violence and other traumatic events day after day; and responding to mass violence incidents that have resulted in numerous injuries and deaths.
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
"Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022" Abolishes Statute of Limitations for Federal Civil Causes of Action Relating to Child Sex Abuse. Recent legislation signed into law by President Biden on September 16, 2022 abolishes the statute of limitations for over a dozen federal civil causes of action relating to child sex abuse, continuing the trend throughout the country to reform statutes of limitations relating to child sex abuse.
May 25, 2022
By Han Tiernan
A harrowing new report reveals the impact of child sexual abuse on LGBTQ+ victims and survivors.
A groundbreaking new report published in the UK has found that many LGBTQ+ victims and survivors are often “blamed for their abuse” with accusations “that they were sexually abused because of their sexual orientation or gender identity”. The Inquiry also found that victims of child sexual abuse have suffered a lasting impact which has “severely damaged their self-identity and mental health”.
By: SoCal Sunrise Recovery
We’ve all seen PTSD acted out in the movies.
Mystic River, The Deer Hunter, The Hurt Locker– these are all popular films that focus on very similar experiences with PTSD, and how the condition may affect those with combat, assault, or disaster trauma.
What they don’t address, however, is how a partner or family member can support somebody who lives with the weight of trauma.
By: Alexander Draghici, MS, LCPC, e-Counseling.com
For someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the world no longer looks like a place worth exploring but rather a minefield where every step presents a risk.
As you can probably imagine, being hypervigilant and ‘on edge’ most of the day is exhausting. In time, and without proper help, you will eventually shut down because you don’t feel like there’s someone who can truly understand what you’re going through.
But part of the reason people who’ve been through traumatic events resort to social isolation is that society often fails to provide what people living with PTSD genuinely need.
And it’s not out of ignorance or ill-intention, not always, but merely a lack of understanding of the difficulties associated with this condition. This manifests in the public services offered to them, the reactions of their loves to their condition, and even in the way those around them communicate with them.
So, here is a list of things you SHOULDN’T say to someone with PTSD:
By Kendra Cherry
In considering what makes one not believe their child, or a child they care for, about sexual abuse, cognitive bias is a heavy factor, clearly. Most children aren't believed when they disclose sexual abuse. This article helps explain the mental gymnastics people go through when making such decisions, guided by bias.
By: Counseling Today
Imagine your neurologist or epileptologist telling you there is no medical reason for your condition. The seizures have a psychological origin and are your brain’s way of coping with emotional stress.... In most cases, sufferers of psychogenic seizures have endured at least one significant traumatic experience in their past, often including sexual victimization.
By: Freedom 2 Fear, Maddie Amos
When referring to survivors of sexual violence, the focus is typically on primary survivors. But an often overlooked demographic heavily impacted by sexual violence is secondary survivors...
By: National Children's Alliance
When a child is abused, he or she experiences serious harm that is often difficult for a caring adult to understand and respond to. With treatment and support, a child can overcome these experiences, and as a parent or caregiver, your role is essential in helping your child heal. This guide is designed to help you process and handle this difficult time and to share with you how a Children’s Advocacy Center and their Multidisciplinary Team can help you and your child.
By: Victim Service Center of Central Florida and Meghan Hahl
When someone says the word “rape,” or discusses the idea of sexual assault, one rarely thinks to associate the traumatic incident with the concept of grief. When survivors consider their pain and the trauma they have experienced, the idea of going through the stages of grief may never cross their mind....
by Child Welfare Information Gateway
Each State designates a special office to monitor the delivery of services and to handle customer complaints related to child welfare. Generally, a review or investigation must occur at the local/county level before the State agency becomes involved. If it cannot be resolved at the local/county level, the next step is to contact the appropriate State office to discuss and/or resolve disagreements with the local agency.
by Child Welfare Information Gateway
This factsheet provides parents (birth, foster, and adoptive) and other caregivers with information about the best way to resolve their differences with a service provider or other child welfare professional. Since child welfare agency policies and procedures are State-specific, this factsheet presents information from a national perspective and points to additional resources about where to find information related to a particular State.
by Child Welfare Information Gateway
How do I report suspected child abuse or neglect?
Who can report child abuse or neglect?
What do I report when I suspect child abuse or neglect?
What will happen after I make a report of child abuse or neglect?
Where can I find additional resources?
1. Parenting the Sexually Abused Child
2. What is Child Sexual Abuse?
3. How Often Does Sexual Abuse Occur?
4. What Behaviors or Signs Might You See in a Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused?
5. Are All Children Affected Equally by Child Sexual Abuse?
6. Do Boys Who Are Abused Have Special Issues?
7. What About Juvenile Sex Offenders?
8. What Do Parents Need to Know When Adopting a Child Who Has Experienced Sexual Abuse?
9. Will Our Child and Family Need Professional Help?
10. Is the Healing Ever Completed?
It is terribly distressing for families and friends to see someone they love and care about in pain and suffering. It can make families feel completely helpless not knowing what to do or say....
“How could this happen?”
This question plagues many parents who discover their child was sexually abused. Like a flashlight is used to discover truth in the dark, our brains use this question to search for answers to our pain....
Abusers are rarely strangers, and not always men - they can be family, women, and other children. Through media and, perhaps, our own desire to feel safe within our trusted circles, we come to think of sexual predators as monsters – people we would never respect, like, or even love....
It’s important to know that there is no normal or one way to react when you find out someone you care about has survived an act of sexual violence. Regardless of what you’re feeling, these emotions can be intense and difficult to deal with...
DNA evidence from a crime like sexual assault can be collected from the crime scene, but it can also be collected from your body, clothes, and other personal belongings. You may choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam, sometimes known as a “rape kit"...
It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if they are a friend or family member. For a survivor, disclosing to someone they care about can be very difficult, so we encourage you to be as supportive and non-judgmental as possible...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is anxiety disorder that can develop after a severe trauma. The individual numbs herself to the pain, experiences ongoing anxiety, and is upset by memories ...
After sexual assault, it’s hard to know how to react. You may be physically hurt, emotionally drained, or unsure what to do next. You may be considering working with the criminal justice system, but are unsure of where to start...
Disclosure of child sexual abuse in a family, whether perpetrated by family member or stranger, is a traumatizing and life-altering event. All family members will experience an altered view of the world as a safe place...
When a person has a life-threatening occurrence and experiences boundary violations such as assault, the feelings produced are often those of helplessness.
In the wake of a traumatic event, your comfort, support and reassurance can make children feel safe, help them manage their fears, guide them through their grief, and help them recover in a healthy way.
(May 1, 2017) by the Associated Press
What can parents do if they believe their child has been the victim of sexual abuse at school? Here’s advice from Adele Kimmel, a senior attorney at the Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization Public Justice.
The best way to protect the non-offending parent and the child victim from the inherent risks and abuses of the CPS system is to stay as far away from CPS as possible.
(March 4, 2016) by Rachel Langevin, PhD & Martine Hebert, PhD
Distressed parents might have more difficulties fulfilling their role in helping children cope with the emotions induced by the trauma. The same seems to hold true for parents who have been sexually victimized in their childhood.
(May 1, 2017) by Reese Dunklin & Emily Schmall
Student-on-student sexual assaults rise significantly during middle-school years, an Associated Press analysis of federal crime data found. But even as early as kindergarten and first grade, children can be at risk: About 5 percent of all sexual attacks reported on school property in a recent two-year period happened to 5 and 6 year olds, according to the AP analysis.
(May 22, 2017) by Michelle R. Smith
The Associated Press reviewed verdicts and settlements across the country in lawsuits brought against schools over student-on-student sexual abuse . Here are some notable recent cases:
by Texas Association Against Sexual Abuse
Tips After Disclosure
Risk Reduction Tips
(2007) by After Silence
Child sexual abuse can be hard to detect for several reasons. Children's bodies tend to naturally heal very quickly and sexual predators are known to extensively groom their victims to ensure that little or no evidence of the assault took place...
Twenty years ago when I first disclosed to my family that I had been sexually abused by my brother as a child, I never would have guessed it would mark the beginning of a long, confusing struggle that would leave me feeling misunderstood, dismissed and even punished for choosing to address my abuse and its effects....
Living with the emotional effects of sexual abuse is painful enough. Unfortunately, many survivors open up about their abuse only to find that their family members’ reactions toward them are just as painful — if not more so — than the original trauma. It may shock some people to learn that family members often choose to side with sexual abuse perpetrators...
Children and adolescents who have been sexually abused frequently face the prospect of going to court. Although legal action can be an important step in helping children and families move forward and recover from the trauma of child sexual abuse, it can also add to the stress of coping with life after the abuse.
Intrafamilial sexual abuse means sexual abuse that occurs within the family. In this form of abuse, a family member involves a child in (or exposes a child to) sexual behaviors or activities. The “family member” may not be a blood relative, but could be someone who is considered “part of the family,” such as a godparent or very close friend.
Every day, parents around the world are faced with situations like this. Being caught off-guard by young children’s self-exploration and curiosity about body parts and sexual issues is one of the uncomfortable realities of parenting, and can raise a host of troubling questions, such as, “Is my child normal?” “Should I be worried?” “What should I say?”
An Interview with Judith Cohen, MD
Dr. Judith Cohen is a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and Medical Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children, Department of Psychiatry, Allegheny General Hospital.
Discovering that your child has a problematic sexual behavior can be overwhelming. It can bring about a flood of emotions, from anger to sadness, denial, shame and guilt. Having the right help and support is vital to helping your child and assisting you in gaining a sense of hope for the future. You are not alone. Help is available.
Psychotherapy with children can sometimes present a few more challenges than working with adults. Very young children may have difficulties expressing what is going on in their lives, while older children or adolescents may be more reluctant to talk about their issues.Finding alternative ways of working with children can therefore be helpful in the therapeutic setting.
Sibling sexual abuse is the least recognized form of incest, while sexual abuse by related adults in a family receives the most attention. Meanwhile, victims of sibling abuse remain unseen, waiting to be found and helped.
Children and teens are more vulnerable to being traumatized by the coronavirus pandemic, violent crime, or other disasters. But with the right parental support, they're also able to recover faster
Probably the best way to understand a victim’s feelings is to try to remember or imagine a situation where you felt powerless and afraid. You may remember feeling very alone, fearful, or needing comfort. Often the victim needs much love and support the first few days. Friends and family can help break down the loneliness and alienation.
Child sexual abuse thrives in secrecy. It’s something that is rarely talked about openly. When someone breaks that silence and discloses their abuse, it’s an important step toward healing. If a child or teen comes to you to talk about this, it can be difficult to know what to do. ....
We believe that proactive parents can help their child or teen heal from sexual abuse by increasing their own awareness and modeling healthy behavior. It’s not surprising that a strong parent-child relationship plays a critical role in child sexual abuse recovery....
If you are the parent or guardian of a child who is a victim of sexual abuse/assault, you may find the following suggested responses to common reactions helpful....
Many parents or caregivers often raise the questions concerning sexual abuse: “Do children sexually abuse other children?” and “Does it really happen?” One uncomfortable fact about child sexual abuse is that about 1/3 of all victimization occurs between people who are both under the age of 18, which means that child on child sexual abuse is a difficult reality that must be addressed.
Sexual assault can happen to anyone, no matter your age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted or abused may have many of the same feelings and reactions as other survivors of sexual assault, but they may also face some additional challenges because of social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity....
Suspecting or discovering that your child has been sexually abused can be devastating. If you find yourself in this situation, you understand firsthand the questions and concerns you have, not to mention the emotional toll. No one should have to go through this alone—not you and not your child....
Statistics show that most often it is a family member or a family friend who becomes the perpetrator. Only 7% of cases are committed by strangers....
by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Sexual assault and sexual abuse can be emotionally traumatic to survivors of either sex....
by Miranda Pacchiana, MSW
Living with the emotional effects of sexual abuse is painful enough. Unfortunately, many survivors open up about their abuse only to find that their family members’ reactions toward them are just as painful — if not more so — than the original trauma....