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.