I have been writing this week about child abuse. Today I would like to share my thoughts on how child abuse not only impacts the victim, but also everyone involved.
The reason for posting this is it may help with your understanding and ability to provide the necessary support to a child who has just told you they have been abused, or who you suspect is being abused.
First and paramount is how the child may be feeling:
- Fear that they will get into trouble or won’t be believed
- Guilt that somehow they caused or encouraged this
- Shame that it has happened to them and what will people think
- Hope that someone may be able to help
- Relief that they have finally spoken up
- Confused and not knowing what to feel
It is important that when supporting the child you seek professional advice and help as unless you are trained you will not be the best person to support the child in the short term. However, you can start to talk to the child about what they are feeling and advise them that what they are feeling is normal and there is support to help them through this.
Secondly how you may feel:
- Anger at what has occurred and towards the person who did this
- Guilt that you had not identified this before
- Fear at what will happen in the future
- Grief of what you thought you had, or what you may be about to lose
- Confusion about whether to believe it or what to do next
It is important to consider your feelings too, as by acknowledging these feelings as being normal this will make it easier to accept and be able to provide the support the child require from you.
Don’t forget that this child will need support and to do that, you will need to look after your own mental health and seek professional support also.
Some tips tomorrow on how you may want to approach a person who has been accused of abuse.
If you have any questions, please contact me at Startafreshlife below.