Supporting Victims of Sexual Abuse

Some recommendations for anyone who wants to support victims

of sexual abuse

Apart from holding perpetrators accountable, the number one

concern should always be caring for survivors. Yes, the entire church

has been hurt by the scandal but victims bear the brunt of the pain.

Everyone should aim to provide them with good, solid support

systems that include family, friends, and the community. 


Here are some of the things anyone can do to help support victims: 

  • Believe and support victims.

  • Report any abuse. Don’t cover for abusers. 

  • NEVER ostracize any victim for being brave enough to tell the truth (even if the predator is a well-liked individual and news of their actions comes as a complete shock).

  • Thank victims for coming forward.

  • Inform victims of their options and honestly tell them what will happen if they choose to take a particular route.

  • Give victims whatever support they need in order to move forward and embark on the healing process.

  • Protect all victims and honestly reassure them that everything will be done to keep them safe.

  • Provide victims with a safe, supportive place to heal in (whether that is within the church community or outside it).

  • Listen to victims without judgment or fear of any kind of retribution.


 

For a full list of the do’s and don’ts of helping survivors of sexual abuse, please see my article from my Ask a Survivor blog at the Ruth Institute.

 

For a list of the do's and don't of helping survivors of clergy sexual abuse, please see this article from my Ask a Survivor blog.

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