My son or daughter has been sexually molested. What should I do?
Do everything you can to support your child and listen to his or her needs. Reassure your child that they have done nothing wrong and you will be there for them every step of the way. Surround yourself with people who have experience in handling these matters. A mental health care professional with trauma counseling experience should be consulted. The police should also be made aware of the abuse at the appropriate time to ensure the perpetrator does not have access to further victims. Local victim advocate groups can also be extremely helpful in providing you with resources for your child.
Should I take my very young child to counseling if he or she is not talking about the abuse?
This is a personal decision which should be made in conjunction with a mental health care professional. Therapy sessions with young children are typically not directed in a way that would force the child to repeatedly recount the abuse in an uncomfortable environment . Often young children are engaged in non-directed play therapy which allows them to express concerns as they become comfortable doing so.
What happens if I report the abuse of my child to the police?
If the police determine that the allegations of abuse could be credible, they are likely to conduct a forensic evaluation. It is unlikely that you will be permitted in the room with your child during the course of this evaluation, although you may be permitted to observe it closed circuit or in a "hidden room." If the police believe the child's disclosures, they are likely to formally charge the alleged perpetrator with a crime.
DO I need a civil lawyer after discovering my child has been abused?
An experienced civil lawyer can be a valuable asset. Not only can they pursue civil remedies for your child, but they can also help guide you through the criminal justice process and assist you with obtaining immediate and necessary resources for your child's recovery.