Youth Advocacy & Therapy Tips

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Should Not Have Therapy Delayed Until After Trial
WCSAP Webpage
April, 2011

In cases of child sexual abuse, some prosecutors discourage parents or others from placing a child in therapy until after the trial. The fear is that therapy will create memory and suggestibility issues which may be used by defense counsel to attack the child's credibility. Therapists confronting this issue can make the following points.

  1. If a child wants or needs therapy, it is unethical to withhold this treatment. Numerous studies document that sexual abuse…
Topics
Child Sexual Abuse, Legal Advocacy
and Brain Development
WCSAP Webpage
April, 2012

We know that the developing brains of children are affected by emotionally traumatic events, such as sexual abuse, as well as by physical injury.

In fact, there is a whole new area of study called Developmental Traumatology that looks at the psychobiological effects of abuse. This is a complicated area of study because it involves children's genetic makeup, their psychosocial environment, and the many factors that contribute to vulnerability or resilience at various stages.

Topics
Child Sexual Abuse, Therapy
WCSAP Webpage
October, 2015

Over the last several years, sexual assault service providers in our state have been working to enhance their response and accessibility to minor survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA). Ideally, we want to create communities that offer safety for young survivors to disclose abuse and agencies that are prepared to provide early intervention services. However, we know that for many reasons, CSA survivors may not disclose their abuse for years. Thus, we want to also be ready to meet the unique…

Topics
Child Sexual Abuse
With Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
WCSAP Webpage
September, 2017

In studies of adults who were sexually abused as children, two out of three said they never told anyone about the abuse during childhood (London, Bruck, Ceci & Shuman). Accordingly, we can expect survivors may not seek help until they are adults. As advocates, we should feel prepared to work with adult survivors who may no longer be in an immediate danger of assault and meet these survivors in varied places along the healing spectrum. Here are some considerations in your advocacy with…

Topics
Child Sexual Abuse
Considerations for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors
WCSAP Webpage
June, 2018

Therapists can be a critical component of a child's support system and healing process following abuse. However, many children are reluctant to participate in counseling because they don't want to talk about what happened or they may believe that going to therapy means something is wrong with them. While there are significant areas of overlap between a therapist and an advocate, it is because of their differences that they are both important members of a child's professional team after a…

Topics
Child Sexual Abuse, Therapy
With Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth
WCSAP Webpage
April, 2011

Relationship-building with youth who have been commercially sexually exploited is no small task. In many cases, abuse, abandonment and betrayal have characterized their relationships with adults and created mistrust. Additionally, they may not see themselves as victims of exploitation or know how they want to move forward.

As advocates, you already have many of the skills you need to support youth who have been commercially sexually exploited. Building rapport with this population is…

Topics
Trafficking & CSEC
WCSAP Webpage
March, 2015

I recently read a comment from a child advocate that speaks to the core of why advocacy is such an important service for young survivors of sexual abuse in our communities: "I've been working for decades now with children who have experienced significant harm. Each of them expected nothing more or less from life than what they'd experienced." Ultimately, our goal in child advocacy is to help young people envision and pursue a life that is more than and different from the trauma they have…

Topics
Child Sexual Abuse
WCSAP Webpage
December, 2015

People with disabilities can and do have sex. But because of myths perpetuated by an ableist society, many children with disabilities are being systematically left behind in receiving education regarding healthy sexuality.

Children with disabilities experience sexual abuse at rates greater than children without. This is primarily due to unique risk factors (e.g. isolated settings with caregivers and attendants) and the lack of systems providing sex and healthy relationship education…

Topics
Child Sexual Abuse, Disability
Nonabused Siblings of Children Who Have Been Abused
WCSAP Webpage
May, 2012

Including siblings in treatment permits families to realize the maximum benefits of therapy for the victim as well as each family member.

—Baker, Tanis, & Rice, 2001

A child can't help being affected in some way by the sexual abuse of a brother or sister, but siblings' needs are often overlooked.

Nonabused children whose siblings have been abused may have to deal with:

  • confusion because adults do not…
Topics
Child Sexual Abuse, Therapy
Adultism in Advocacy
WCSAP Webpage
November, 2018

Adultism: Power and Control

Power is not inherently good nor bad, but it is used to benefit or target individuals along a spectrum of accessibility. We can easily identify ways in which racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc., manifest in our society, and how they might intersect with each other. We can also see how individuals and groups of people who have less access to power, or who are targets of power, are more vulnerable to sexual violence. Sexual violence is indeed about…

Topics
Child Sexual Abuse, Anti-Oppression

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