How To Help Minors Who Are Being Abused

How To Help Minors Who Are Being Abused
by Marnie C. Ferree

Helping adults who were sexually abused as children is challenging enough. A more urgent (and usually greater) crisis is dealing with children who report current sexual abuse. A pastor must take the following steps:

1. Remain calm and do not overreact. Children often shut down or change their story if an adult reacts negatively or with great emotion.

2. Ensure the child’s safety. Be certain the accused perpetrator does not have access to the child. With incest situations, ask that person to physically leave the home. This is no time to fear hurting someone’s feelings.

3. Report the abuse to the proper authorities. All states now require those who suspect child sexual abuse to report this abuse to a child protective agency. Call the local police if you are not sure who should receive the report.

4. Recommend the child receives professional help.Professional help may include a physical exam and counseling with professionals specifically equipped to help child victims. The parents will also need clinical help.

5. Be courageous. You may face a situation where there are suspicions of abuse but no proof. Trust your instincts. Err on the side of reporting if you are unsure. The welfare of a vulnerable child may depend on you.

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