how to help a friend or family member

These suggestions come from survivors and people who support them.

If a teen, child, or adult tells you about an abuse situation:

  • Listen without judgment. Your support is crucial. Anger, disbelief, or denial from family and friends can make things worse. For now, just listen and appreciate the courage it takes to tell; you can sort out the details later.
  • Understand that abuse is not the survivor’s fault. When a child is molested by an adult, the adult is responsible, no matter what the child did, said or felt at the time. If a person of any age forces sex on another, that is rape.
  • Respect confidentiality. If you report the abuse, tell the survivor in advance if you can.
  • Get information and confidential support for yourself through your local Rape Crisis or by calling one of these national helplines.
  • Encourage survivors to seek help, no matter how long ago the assault occurred.
  • Learn about abuse and healing so you can be an informed supporter. You can help end child sexual abuse by supporting child help organizations in your own community or joining the national effort.
If someone you know has sexually offended, they need help, too. Reporting abuse is the best way we have to stop it from happening again.

report abuse

You can learn more about reporting at Childhelp USA or Darkness to Light.
*** The information on this page is not intended to take the place of medical advice, professional counseling, or crisis intervention.***

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