06: How to Respond When a Child Reveals Sexual Abuse with Laura Reagan

My guest today is Laura Reagan, a clinical social worker in private practice in the Baltimore area. Laura specializes in childhood emotional neglect and trauma. She is a board approved clinical supervisor, holds advanced certification in trauma therapy, and is a certified Daring Way facilitator. Laura hosts the Therapy Chat podcast, where she covers many topics that give support and meaning to those who’ve experienced trauma. We’re tackling a difficult topic today: How to respond when a child reveals that sexual abuse has taken place. Sexual abusers are usually people that the family and the child know. How do we respond and move through this difficult time? Join us for this important conversation. What you’ll hear in this episode:
  • Laura’s practice addresses all sorts of abuse, neglect, and trauma
  • Statistics about child sexual abuse:
    • 75% of sexually abused children don’t tell anyone
    • 44% of sexually abused children are under 18
    • 93% of sexually abused children know their abuser
    • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys will be sexually abused in their lifetime
  • For every victim, there are family/friends who also need support
  • There are many ways perpetrators gain access to children
  • How can a parent respond and take action when abuse is revealed?
    • Be open and believe your child
    • Ask questions
    • Validate their experience
    • Provide a safe space for talking
    • Get professional help
  • Be aware that other children in the family may have been abused also
  • Your words AND actions should show openness
  • Children see what we feel and think they are to blame
  • What parents need to model in order to help the child
  • Utilize services at local Sexual Assault Crisis Centers
  • There are misunderstandings that get in the way of our responses
  • The abuser often threatens the child’s family’s safety if they tell
Resources: http://www.laurareaganlcswc.com/join/ http://www.laurareaganlcswc.com/podcast/www.laurareaganlcswc.com www.rainn.org