No matter how long ago or how recent an individual has experienced childhood sexual abuse, or the age when the abuse occurred, it is always possible to begin the healing process. The same is true for individuals who have experienced an isolated abuse event or a repeated pattern of maltreatment. No matter the situation, there are organizations, support groups, and trained individuals who are willing and able to help. How much or how little an individual chooses to reveal about their experiences, and with whom, is completely up to them. Each individual’s pathway to healing can be completely different from one another. This journey can have many twists and turns, however, one of the most important things to remember is that you or your loved one, do not have to do it alone.
There are several national organizations with reputable online information sources as well as hotlines that can be called any time. Many of these organizations including those listed below can assist in finding trained specialists in your area ranging from counseling, therapy, mental, emotional, or physical health-related medical attention, local support groups and more.1,2
RAINN: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) works with local sexual abuse providers all over the United States to help survivors find the support they need. RAINN also operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-HOPE, 1-800-656-4673) and has a search feature that allows you to find centers that specialize in childhood sexual abuse in your area of the United States, as well as local centers listed by individual state. https://rainn.org.
Stop It Now: Stop It Now has information on recognizing the signs of child sexual abuse, as well as information and educational materials for survivors or childhood sexual abuse, families of survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and resources for perpetrators to get help. stopitnow.org.
National Child Abuse Hotline: Accessed by dialing 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-2253), individuals on this line can help find local specialists and support centers and can provide over-the-phone counseling in over 140 languages.
National Children’s Alliance: Represents a national network of centers that consist of multidisciplinary specialists who investigate cases of potential child physical and sexual abuse. Encourages individuals to report possible abuses that are occurring in their local community. nationalchildrensalliance.org.
National Organization for Victim Assistance: Also called NOVA, this organization provides educational resources to victims of abuse, crime, and crisis. NOVA works to connect survivors with local services and resources, as well as train future crisis responders. trynova.org.
It’s important to point out that this list represents only a small portion of all of the potential local and national organizations that can provide support and information. There are also organizations dedicated to different genders, ages, sexual orientations, experiences, and disabilities. Seeking out more information on childhood sexual abuse and the potential treatment or assistance options for managing its long-term effects is a great place to start for those looking for guidance. Your primary care doctor or other healthcare provider may also be able to direct you or a loved one toward local support options.
- National Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors and their Loved Ones. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). https://rainn.org/national-resources-sexual-assault-survivors-and-their-loved-ones. Accessed December 15, 2017.
- State Resources. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). https://rainn.org/state-resources. Accessed December 15, 2017.