Children, teenagers and young people
Children all react differently to the experience and they can recover from child sexual assault; it takes time and care.
Children who are sexually assaulted often find it difficult to tell anyone about what has happened to them.
They might feel guilty or confused about the abuse. They might also feel frightened of the person who may be someone they know and who may have forced them to keep the abuse a secret.
Children and young people often fear that they may get into trouble or that they won't be believed. They often feel that they need to protect others.
In addition there are useful contacts for support for children, resources and websites.
Definition: What is child sexual assault
The definition of child sexual assault is:
For more information about the possible signs of sexual abuse in children and young people, refer to the 'How do I know if a child or young person is abused?' published by Community Services and the NSW Interagency Guidelines for Child Protection and Intervention, 2006.
Children need to be heard and supported, and there are ways that you as a parent or a friend can support them.
Professional support and counselling is also available. There are many services for victims of sexual assault, including specific services for children.
Supporting children can be confusing and stressful and, for this reason, there are some ways family and friends can support victims of sexual assault.
The most important messages children and young people need are:
- that it is not their fault
- that they are believed
- that it was right to tell
- that they can get help to make it stop.
Reporting child sexual assault
If you suspect someone has hurt a child or young person under 18, or a child or young person is in immediate danger, call Police on 000 or call Police at Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 (24 hours).
If you are a member of the community and suspect that a child or young person under 18 years is at risk of harm, and is being abused you can make a report to Community Services Helpline on ph: 132 111 (24 hours).
Community Services will take action to protect the child or young person.
In NSW, people who work wholly or partly with children and young people, must report, by law, when they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child, or class of children, is at risk of harm , including any alleged sexual abuse of children, to Community Services.
Investigations into child sexual abuse differ slightly from investigations into adult sexual abuse.
There are special rules and arrangements for children going through court, such as those for vulnerable witnesses and giving evidence. To understand more about what happens at court, go to the Victims Services website to play some digital games designed especially for children.
There are many websites and resources for victims of sexual assault, including the following sites designed specifically to help children and young people:
About Date Rape: www.aboutdaterape.nsw.gov.au
CASAC (Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Counsellors): www.casac.org.au
Commission for Children and Young People: www.kids.nsw.gov.au
Bursting the Bubble: www.burstingthebubble.com