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2000 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 5, No. 2
June 2000

Intervention Points: Coping with the Effects of Sexual Abuse

  • Make it clear to children their concerns are valid and that they will be believed. Help them understand that abuse is wrong and is never their fault.

  • Allow children to say and feel positive things about the offender. Children must understand that they do not have to conceal their feelings to remain attached to protective, caring adults (Sheinberg & Fraenkel, 1998).

  • Offer concrete support to nonoffending parents. Due to the upheaval caused by sexual abuse, its revelation, and the investigation, they may need special help connecting with people and agencies that can support them.

  • Connect family members to therapy. Often abused children feel isolated; therefore group therapy with children who have had similar experiences can be particularly effective (Osmond, 1998).

  • Get additional information on this topic. Social workers in North Carolina should attend training sponsored by the NC Division of Social Services. MAPP-certified trainers should consider attending "Fostering and Adopting the Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused," a four day train-the-trainer event that teaches participants to help parents of children facing the double trauma of sexual abuse and placement. See page 47 of the NC Division's summer/fall 2000 training calendar for more information.


Osmond, M., Durham, D., Leggett, A., & Keating, J. (1998). Treating the aftermath of sexual abuse: A handbook for working with children in care. Washington, D.C.: Child Welfare League of America.

Sheinberg, M. & Fraenkel, P. (1998). Loyalty divided: Ambivalence haunts the victims of sexual abuse. Family Therapy Networker, 23(3), 63-78.

2000 Jordan Institute for Families