The response after a child has disclosed abuse can, at best, accelerate recovery and strengthen the child’s resilience or, in the worst case, re-traumatize the child. This is why it is so important that adults and relevant authorities who meet the abused child act in a coordinated manner, with the best interest of the child in mind.
Our thematic focus area Child Focused Response to Abuse include both activities for prevention as well as providing adequate support, resources and help when abuse has taken place. It includes development of methods to identify children who are at risk, to help children disclose abuse with minimal trauma and ensure that the child is safe from further abuse.
A child who has been abused has the right to receive the necessary support to process the abuse, to heal and strengthen resilience and prevent re-traumatization and mitigate long-term consequences.
Avoiding re-traumatization in the legal process
We know that children who have been sexually abused and seek help and protection may be re-traumatized and re-victimized in the process. Social and legal approaches are often uncoordinated, inadequate and/or lack child focus and rights-perspective in communication and processes affecting the child.
By working for increased coordination and knowledge with responsible authorities, the risk of re-traumatization is reduced and the chances increase for the child to have their voice heard in the legal process.
Reducing the risks of becoming a perpetrator is also part of this thematic area. To prevent sexual abuse from happening in the first place there is a need for evidence-based interventions for people who are sexually attracted to children.
Photo: Susanne Drakborg