Four ways to help child-survivors of sexual abuse in Maryland

Childhood sexual abuse is a traumatic experience with lasting effects, but there are things parents can do to help their kids cope.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 62,939 reported cases of sexual abuse across the country in 2012 alone. As a result of such maltreatment, children in Maryland and elsewhere may experience a range of effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental conditions, some of which may be lasting. Although dealing with the effects of sexual abuse in their childhood may be a lifelong challenge for survivors, there are things their parents can do that may help them to better cope.

Keep fears and reactions in check

For many parents, learning their children have been sexually abused at the hands of a trusted friend, loved one or stranger may be among the most upsetting news they can receive. However, if they are overwhelmed by their own emotions, they may not be able to provide their kids with the support and love they need. Therefore, child sexual abuse survivors may be best served if their parents or primary caregivers respond in helpful, supportive ways. People should do their best to avoid developing extreme fears relating to the abuse, which may be projected onto their children. Further, they should do their best not to show their anger as their kids may misinterpret it as being directed at them.

Do not downplay the abuse

While children who suffer sexual abuse are not benefited by their parents overreacting, downplaying the abuse may be just as damaging. People may believe they are staying calm or controlling their reactions, but saying things such as, “It was not so bad,” or “It was not a big deal, you will get over it,” may minimalize what children are feeling. Worse, downplaying the sexual abuse may give children the wrong impression about the appropriateness of the behavior.

Encourage communication

For some children, discussing what happened or their feelings may help them work through such traumatic experiences. As they feel ready and willing, parents should encourage their kids to communicate their questions, worries and fears. It is important, however, that people do not push their children to talk about the sexual abuse.

Offer reassurance

Whether by nature or because the perpetrator told them so, it is common for child-survivors of sexual abuse to feel they were to blame for the inappropriate behavior. After they are made aware, parents should offer their children frequent reassurances. They should make certain their kids know they did nothing wrong, they did not do anything to deserve what happened to them, they are now safe and that the hurt will not be permanent.

Obtaining legal counsel

Dealing with the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse may be a lasting challenge for people throughout Maryland and the rest of the U.S. They may require ongoing medical treatment for injuries or other resulting ailments, as well as suffer from conditions that affect their ability to obtain gainful employment as adults. Under some circumstances, the abuser and the facility or organization that allowed the maltreatment to occur may be held liable. Therefore, people whose children have been sexually abused may benefit from discussing their situations and rights with an attorney.

Verdicts and Settlements

Client Reviews

Ben and Nate are great guys. They walked me through the whole process, from beginning til the end. The receptionist and very nice. Answer all my questions and concerns. I will refer them to anyone. Their not like other lawyers that talk around the topic. They tell you just how it is or how they believe it will be. Thank you guys so much.

S. W.

Ben and Nate took their time in handling my case with compassion and care. I never had to wonder what was going on. They always made sure to include me in each and every decision that needed to be made before they were made. Their entire staff was always very polite and knowledgeable. I cannot say enough kind words about Andreozzi + Foote; they are simply the best!

V. B.

One of the best personal injury lawyers in the country. Great experience. Really genuine people at Andreozzi and Associates.

B. E.

Handled our case SO well even though it took a long time to settle, and STILL helps us with paperwork related to the settlement account every now and then. They were honest with us from the get-go, worked REALLY hard on our behalf, and always kept in touch with us about what was going on. So pleased.

S. G.

When you and your child are victims of a horrid crime it’s hard to understand why things are the way they are. Information and answers are what you want, but unfortunately the system doesn’t offer that. Nathaniel has fielded and patiently listened to a broken mother wanting nothing more than for someone to help her understand why she has no answers, and through these phone calls Nathaniel has been very informative, honest and upfront. I would recommend Nathaniel and this firm to anyone who is seeking answers, help and professionalism in a firm when going through such difficult times.

S. L.

Can’t say enough about the kindness and compassion of this law office. They helped me immensely with a difficult case and the level of support they provided me was stellar.

L. A.

It is impossible to put into words our gratitude for Ben and Nate through the most trying time of our life. As scared, confused, and traumatized parents, the isolation and loneliness of litigation are abysmal. In the beginning, everyone surrounding you has endless bright ideas and can’t say enough how you should pursue action, but then when it comes down to it, these cheerleaders are suddenly silent and nowhere to be found in what feels to be your darkest hour. Thank God we had these two extraordinary men at our side from the moment we contacted them. Their friendship, counsel, and sound resolve to do everything they could in order to balance the scorecard meant more than we can ever convey, and is simply immeasurable. If we had known how simple this seemingly horrific ordeal would’ve been with their help from the start, we wouldn’t have agonized a single minute over doing what we did. If you are in a similar position as I’ve described, take advice from someone who’s been through the worst, thankfully with the best. Call them!

E.K.

Get a Free Consultation