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Parental Role in Managing Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence, involves any involuntary sexual act in which a person is forced to engage in sexual act against their will. Examples of sexual assaults are rape, attempted rape, groping and child sexual abuse.

Sexual assaults on children are far more serious because it can cause long-term negative psychological and emotional impact to victims and their families. Parents’ roles are crucial in helping children because they need ongoing support and protection. It is very important for parents not to blame the child for the abuse.

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What parents can help:

  1. Spend time with your children and let them know you love them. Establish a relationship of faith and trust with them.

  2. Meet everyone who works with your child.

  3. Know warning signs and risk factors for abuse.

  4. Respect your children and be sensitive to their emotional needs.

  5. Look for warning signs or changes in your child

    • Sexual behavior that is way beyond their years

    • Regressive behavior (behaving much younger than they are)

    • Increased dependency on non-abusing adults

    • Withdrawal and isolation from others

    • Increased aggressiveness or hostility

    • Sudden fear of the dark

    • Frequent nightmares

    • Changes in sleep (either lack of sleep or increased sleeping).

  6. If you suspect sexual abuse/ assault, ask questions and encourage your child to talk. Use open-ended questions.

  7. Tell them you believe them and you do not blame them.

  8. Reassure and support them. Tell them you will never be mad.

  9. Tell them you will protect and keep them safe.

  10. Give them time and space to talk at their own pace.

  11. Provide opportunity for your child to talk to you privately. Allow them to talk about how they feel.

  12. Be calm when talking with your child.

  13. Educate yourself on effects of child sexual abuse so that you can best support yourself and your child.

  14. Get professional help.

DO NOT:

  1. Blame your child for what happened.

  2. Suggest or tell your child that it would have been better if they had not told anyone.

  3. Tell your child that you blame yourself

  4. Tell your child to forget it ever happened

  5. Tell your child not to talk about it

  6. Get upset when your child talks about the abuse.

Parents need to remember that:

  1. They have a vital role in helping children to recover from sexual abuse.

  2. You are not responsible for the abuse. The abuser is the only person responsible.

  3. Seek help and look after yourself, as well as your child’s needs.

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Reference:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_assault

  2. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

  3. How to protect your kids from pedophiles, from having that first talk to recognizing signs of sexual abuse. http://www.parenting.com

  4. Patty Onderko. Tips for Child Sex Abuse Prevention.

 

Last Reviewed : 18 December 2014
Writer : Dr. Norharlina bte. Bahar
Accreditor : Datin Dr. Sheila Marimuthu