Hesperian Health Guides
If your child has been sexually abused
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If your child has been sexually abused, you can help if you:
- believe what she says. Children rarely make up stories about sexual abuse.
- praise her for telling you. Children need to know that they have done the right thing by talking about the abuse.
- reassure her that the abuse is not her fault and that you are not angry with her.
- protect her safety. Try to prevent future contact between the child and her abuser. If this is not possible, make sure you or someone who knows what happened is always with your child when the abuser is present.
- treat physical health problems from the abuse. Try to get your child tested for sexually transmitted infections, even if she does not have any signs. Some sexually transmitted infections do not have any signs, or they do not come until a child is older.
As a parent, you also need help. Parents feel many emotions including disbelief, anger, and sadness when they learn their child has been abused. Parents may blame each other for what happened to their child. It can help to talk about these feelings with someone you trust. Be patient with yourself. It may take a long time for these feelings to change.