For Youth

For Parents




What if I am not sure whether or not my child was abused?

In situations involving younger children there is often uncertainty about whether the child was abused or not. Parents may become concerned because of behavioral reactions, physical symptoms, or suspicious statements. A medical examination can provide reassurance about a child’s physical condition, although it usually cannot determine if there was sexual abuse. A specialized assessment can often clarify concerns and help provide direction.

How do I talk to my child?

When your child may have been sexually abused it is best to let your child tell you what she or he wants and just listen without asking a lot of questions.

When your child has told you that something has happened, it is very important to let the professionals do the interviewing – a legal case can depend on it. The most important thing a parent can do is show support for their child and get guidance from professionals.

Is there a book that can help me talk to my child?

A good book for 4 to 8 year olds for abuse prevention as well as a way to start talking to your child is My Body is Private, by Linda Walvoord Girard, available through Amazon and local booksellers.

Will Child Protective Services (CPS) or law enforcement be notified?

The law requires doctors, nurses, psychologists and others to report a suspicion of child abuse. CPS is responsible for situations involving caretakers who may have abused a child or failed to protect, while law enforcement is responsible to investigate other crimes. We will tell you if we have to file a report, explain what may happen next and help you figure out what to do.

How can I tell if my child or our family needs counseling?

Child abuse can cause emotional and behavioral problems for children and is always stressful for parents. The good news is that most children recover from the experiences especially when the family is supportive. We can assess your child and tell you what the effects of the experience are and what kind of counseling would help. We also can provide specialized counseling.