Protecting Your Child From Sex Abuse
Experts explain how to recognize signs that your child may have been a victim of sex abuse.
Calming Parent's Fears continued...
"A mother, for example, may not want to turn in the abusing stepfather
because she's fearful that child-protective services will place the child in
foster care," says Fielder.
What most don't realize, says Fielder, is that should the child confess the
abuse to someone else, or if a teacher, neighbor, pediatrician or other family
member reports the suspected abuse on their own, the mother may lose the child
"In the eyes of the law that mother was not protecting her child,"
While guidelines governing what happens when a parent reports child abuse
can vary from state to state, Amaranth says that nationwide there is a push
toward leaving the child in the home and instead removing the abuser from the
"Even if the child must be removed for a short time, most state
officials try to place them with a relative or someone they know," says
Adds Fielder: "You are far more likely to keep your child if you
demonstrate that you have taken steps to protect them, rather than protect the
If you suspect your child is being sexually abused -- or if you are a
friend, neighbor, or relative of a child you believe is a victim -- the
following organizations can help:
- Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline (800) 4-A-CHILD
((800) 422-4453) or visit www.ChildHelpUSA.org.
- Child Abuse National Hotline (800) 252-2873, (800)
- To find your local state child abuse hotline, check your local government
directory under "Child Protective Services" or "Abuse
- Online you can find a directory of local state child abuse hotlines at:
- To find a child-advocacy center in your area, call your local
- Online visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network,
- For a direct link to a listing of child advocacy centers by state, visit