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Counseling can be a key step towards the eventual recovery and rehabilitation of a child victim of sexual offences. Sensitive, ethical and responsive counselling can help heal trauma and empower the child to move on from the disruption caused to her or his life.

A counselor not only needs to be aware of the child’s mental and emotional needs but the societal pressures that a victim of sexual offences has to undergo. This page is intended to support a trained counselor to under stand the needs of child victims and how they may respond to the same.

Introduction: Counseling Child Victims of Sexual Offences

To work effectively with child victims of sexual offencer, it is important for a counselor to recognize the many levels of society which influence their lives. These societal influences can either hurt or help the child in their recovery from sexual abuse. They can act as stress factors or resilience factors for the child.

Child abuse can be one of the most detrimental experiences that can happen to a child. Research has shown that children who are abused are more likely to have low self-esteem, be more emotionally detached, and have substance abuse problems. In many ways, abuse also begets abuse. This means that children, particularly boys who have been victims of abuse are more likely to either become abusers themselves. Female child abuse victims, on the other hand, are more likely to get trapped in abusive relationships as adults.

Because sexual abuse, molestation and rape are such shame-filled concepts, our culture tends to suppress information about them. The cultural and religious values of the family & community will influence whether the child now views herself/himself positively or negatively.

It is the job of the counselor to help the child look at themselves independently of the views of the society around them.

Children Speak Three Languages

When working with children, you are working with their heads, hearts & imaginations. The child often tells their story non-verbally through their play, their behaviour, and their body language. You have to understand the child and where they are coming from to understand what they are saying. 1. The Language… Know More »

10 Things a Counsellor Can Do to Assist a Child in Communicating

It is important to acknowledge to the child that they may have good reasons for keeping quiet and then to take action to answer the child’s fears to their satisfaction. For example, if the child fears punishment, speak to an adult the child trusts and is comfortable with and do… Know More »

How Children Communicate About Sexual Abuse

Body language: Since the first language that children speak is body language, watch for behavioral indicators that show that the child is either distressed or physically injured. Look carefully for signs of withdrawal, a painful or odd gait, reluctance or stiffening of the body when touched, increased activity level, or… Know More »

What to Watch Out For While Communicating with Children

Emotional reactions that prevent communication The child might have a lot of reasons leading to their inability to speak, some might be: 1. Shame in talking about the sexual abuse. 2. Lack of trust. The child has had no time to get to know you or the other adult professionals… Know More »

Skills & Qualities Required for a Counselor

Interview Skills The child must trust that 1. You will not harm them. 2. You will be supportive of them. 3. You will look after their basic needs. Important things to keep in mind so you have the best rapport with the child

Assessing the Progress of a Child

Periodic assessment of the child’s progress can help you better evaluate and support the child’s future needs. The Assessment Kit:- 1. How is the case progressing? 2. What is the general emotional tone of the family? 3. How is the relationship of the family with the child and within the… Know More »

Termination of Therapy

“Termination” is a scary word that one would not typically associate with a relationship, let alone the therapeutic process. It makes sense to therapists because we have been trained in it. For our clients, especially the ones who have never been in counseling before, the process may be unclear. This… Know More »

Self Care for Therapists

Self care isn’t self indulgence, self care is self respect. 1. Despite professional training and education, child sexual abuse often stirs intense emotions regarding the child, the offender, and non-offending parent. The key is to recognize these emotional reactions and preventing them from interfering with professional judgment or role performance. Compassion… Know More »