Help for Parents and Caregivers
If your child discloses sexual abuse, we’re here to help you.
What to do if your child tells you they've been sexually abused.
- The most important thing is to believe them!
- Support the child by listening and staying calm. Your calmness will reassure the child that they can also be OK and that they have not done anything wrong.
- Reassure the child that what has happened is not his or her fault.
- Helpful Responses:
“I am glad you told me, thank you.”
“You are very brave and did the right thing.”
“I am sorry this happened to you and I wasn’t there to stop it.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“I am proud of you for telling me.”
“I need to make a report to people who can help us. I am going to do everything I can to keep you safe.”
- Report the abuse immediately.
Missouri Abuse Hotline: 1-800-392-3738. Visit the website for more information.
Kansas Abuse Hotline: 1-800-922-5330. Visit the website for more information.
- Call MOCSA for guidance: 816-531-0233 or 913-642-0233. We are available 24-hours/day and can provide support and direction as you begin to navigate this difficult terrain.
- Seek counseling for you and your child. MOCSA is here to help parents and caretakers deal with their own feelings about the abuse so that they are able to effectively support their children.
What to do if your child exhibits sexual behavior problems.
MOCSA has the only evidence-based outpatient program for youth with problematic sexual behaviors in the Kansas City Metropolitan area, and is part of a nationally recognized multidisciplinary team. Currently this program is only available for youth and families in Missouri.
How can I support my child?
All children respond differently to sexual abuse. Some seem to rebound more quickly than others. The most crucial thing every child needs is to be believed.
- Do allow your child to lead the discussion.
- Do answer questions to the best of your ability.
- Do help your child maintain their normal routine. Routine helps children feel safe and settle anxiety.
- Do your best to manage your own emotions around the child. Your reactions could make the child feel guilty for upsetting you.
- Do allow the criminal justice system to work.
- Don’t ask probing questions.
- Don’t respond negatively to the abuse or ask blaming questions like “Why didn’t you try to stop it?”
- Don’t try to sweep the abuse under the rug; deal with the disclosure. Support the child, report the incident, and get them the help they need.
- Don’t threaten to harm the abuser.