20% of the population in America has been sexually abused.(8) That's more people than the Center for Disease Control estimates will get the flu each year.(9) So needless to say, as you implement and teach others the Child Sexual Abuse Best Practices program, you will be talking with children, teens and adults who have personally experienced sexual abuse as well as parents who know or suspect their child has been abused. It's also inevitable that at some point you will be speaking with someone who is attracted to children, who may or may not have crossed the line and abused a child.

In any case, it's irresponsible to talk about child sexual abuse without providing the resources and referrals individuals may need. While it's a good idea to provide a customized list of local resources, at minimum you should hand out the following resources when you are presenting formally and recommend all youth-serving organizations post these resources, as you never know who will need them and people may be too scared or ashamed to ask.

Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-SUICIDE or
1-800-799-4TTY (Hearing Impaired)

To Report Child Sexual Abuse
Call 911 or your local Child Protection Services agency

Suspect Child Sexual Abuse?
Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD if you need to talk about it

For Help to Manage Inappropriate Sexual Feelings towards Children
Call 1-888-PREVENT (anonymous hotline)

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training
Visit taalk.org for free training and information

 

Support

Adult survivors and parents of abused children may need emotional support as well as guidance to create an effective support system and healing plan based on either programs you choose to offer or through referrals to local community resources. 
 

Support Groups

Adult survivors of sexual abuse will need on-going support as they unravel the consequences of their abuse. One of the most valuable support methods is peer-to-peer support because fellow survivors are the only ones who can truly understand what a survivor has been through and they can understand it without the survivor having to share the details of their story which can be traumatizing. If you are not a survivor yourself or don't have a passion for providing support, it's still important that you understand the basics of peer-to-peer support groups so you can encourage others in your community to step up and provide this much needed aspect of support for survivors.  If you are a survivor and would like to facilitate a support group for adult survivors, there are a variety of resources you can use to help guide survivors through the healing process. Even if you elect a less formal approach and just provide time each week for survivors to talk with one another, you'll see tremendous progress as they learn:

  • You Are Not Alone
  • It Was Not Your Fault
  • To Diffuse the Power of Your Secret
  • To Break Free from the Emotions of the Past
  • To Claim the Truth
  • To Take Your Thoughts Captive
  • To Re-Establish Your Moral Code
  • To Identify and Resolve Your Triggers
  • To Shift the Blame from You to Your Abuser
  • To Take Back Your Power of Choice
  • To Establish Boundaries and Learn to Say "NO"
  • To Grieve the Loss of Innocence, Childhood, and Family
  • To Acknowledge Your Goodness and Your Progress
  • To Forgive and Choose to Let Go
  • To Shift the Focus from Yourself to Others
 

Support for Parents of Abused Children

Parents whose children have disclosed abuse need a different level of care initially. While they will need emotional support as well as guidance on creating an effective support system and healing plan in the long term, they will be faced with much more pressing needs and decisions in the initial hours and days after disclosure. Parents are likely to be in shock and may even find it hard to believe their child. They may be overwhelmed with fear including:
 
  • Fear they might be wrong and accuse an innocent person
  • Fear of embarrassment, shame and public humiliation
  • Fear of being blamed and having their kids taken away
  • Fear of facing their own past (if they're a survivor of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, or an offender)
  • Fear of loss of income, home, food (if the offender is their financial provider)
  • Fear of nuclear family break-up (if incest)
  • Fear of extended family break-up (if generational incest)
  • Fear of a family member going to prison
 
While these are all valid concerns, parents will need emotional support to overcome these fears and wise counsel to help them do the right thing - to believe their child, to protect their child and to report the abuse. Parents who believe, protect, and report abuse to the authorities create a stable foundation for their child's healing. Parents will also need guidance on how to work with the authorities to gather and preserve evidence that will allow the authorities to hold the offender accountable so that their child is validated and other children are protected.
 
As an advocate speaking about abuse within your community, you will have survivors and parents of survivors come to you for help.  Even if you decide prevention is the primary focus of your advocacy work, you will need to learn the basics of support so you are prepared to handle those in need effectively and compassionately. You will learn how to facilitate support groups for adults survivors as well as provide the initial and on-going support parents may need.