If Your Child has been Sexually Abused

Do's and don'ts when your child has been sexually assaulted

When a child tells someone about sexual abuse, a supportive, caring response is the first step in getting help for the child and reestablishing their trust in adults.

Adults are always the ones at fault when they abuse children. The abused children should never be blamed. Children do not have the maturity and knowledge that adults do, and thus can be easily manipulated, coerced, and confused by adult perpetrators.

Do report the abuse to the proper agencies.

In this way your child can be protected from further victimization, and other children may be protected too.

  • For abuse within the family, report it to the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, 414-220-SAFE, or call the police (911).
  • For abuse that is outside of the family, report it to the police (911)

The agency receiving the report will conduct an investigation and will take action to protect the child.

Do contact local agencies for assistance, support, services, and/or advocacy.

  • Sexual Assault Treatment Center - 414-219-5555
  • Child Protection Center of Children's Hospital - 414-277-8980
  • Pathfinders - 414-964-2565
  • The Healing Center - 414-671-4325 (HEAL)

Do keep anything that may be evidence.

The unwashed clothing the child was wearing at the time of the assault, or any bedding, towels, etc. should be kept in a paper bag (plastic bags can damage the evidence).

Do get your child medical and emotional/mental evaluations.

Even if they "seem fine," don't want to talk about it, or if the abuse happened long ago it is a good idea to have your child evaluated by providers who can assess for any resulting problems or effects.

Do follow through with recommended medical and mental health care for your child.

Providing healing services now may prevent emotional and behavior problems down the road for your child.

Do continue to reassure and protect your child, and remind them that they did nothing wrong and are not to blame or the assault.

Do make sure you find support for yourself, too.

This is a very difficult experience for you as a parent as well. If you need more information, support, or advocacy services, please contact us.