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To Sam

sexual abuse

what advice would u give to someone that has been sexualy abused??  
Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there

Thanks for your letter. You’ve asked me a really good question and I’ll try to answer as best I can. Everyone who has been sexual abused will have their own thoughts and feelings about what sort of help they want. What I can try and do is explain what some of the options might be.

Sexual abuse is when someone tricks or forces you into doing something sexual. It can happen in a variety of situations, including online. If you’ve been sexually abused, it’s never your fault. Unfortunately, abusers can be very good at making young people feel that they have done something wrong. Sexual abuse can sometimes feel like a difficult thing to talk about, but it’s important to get help.

If someone has been sexually abused, then telling someone what happened is the first step in getting some support. It’s up to them to decide who they want to tell. This could be any trusted adult, like a parent, relative, teacher, doctor or school nurse. It can help to think of a specific time to have the conversation, when there’s some privacy and no one is in a rush. Writing things down on paper, or taking a friend along as support might help a young person feel less nervous.

If someone like a teacher or school nurse finds out that a young person is being sexually abused, then they have to tell a social worker. A social worker would get in touch with them and their family to find out more about what’s been happening. The police might also need to be involved, in order to keep the young person safe.

If they were feeling upset, angry, scared or confused about the abuse, they might find it helpful to speak to a specially trained therapist. 

Some people will choose to go straight to social services or the police themselves. The fastest way to do this is to ring 999 for emergency help. It’s also possible to find the number for local social services in the phone book.

It can be really hard to decide to tell someone about sexual abuse. Any young person can choose to speak to a ChildLine counsellor in confidence by ringing 0800 1111 or logging in to 1-2-1 chat (You can read more about the confidentiality policy here). The ChildLine counsellors are allowed to talk to young people about sexual abuse without telling a social worker. There’s lots of information about sexual abuse in the Explore pages, including a video showing what it could be like to talk to ChildLine about it.

Take care

Sam

 

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