If your child tells you that he or she has been touched inappropriately, it is important to stay calm. Your reaction may scare them or increase their feelings of guilt. Both emotions could discourage them from talking about the abuse openly. Be sensitive to their needs and applaud them for having the courage to tell you what happened. Be a source of support and assure them you will take care of things.
Next, immediately cease all contact your child has with their offender.
Then, take action! Call your local police department or child abuse hotline and report the abuse. By failing to notify the authorities you may unwittingly lead to the abuse of other children. Do not try to handle the situation yourself.
It is crucial to your child that you report abuse and pursue prosecution. Taking the necessary steps to get the abuser off the streets provides children with a sense of security, as well as the opportunity to get justice.
In order to avoid confusion, anxiety or guilt, children should never overhear conversations about their disclosure. Likewise, you should seek support and comfort for yourself where your child can't see or hear what you say.
The prognosis for healing after being molested is better for children who are supported and believed when they disclose. Listen to your kids, and pay attention to their behavior.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The Polly Klaas Foundation
The Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation