The safety of children especially in school environments is a paramount concern for parents and guardians. And that is why when the unthinkable happens and a child goes through sexual abuse of any form within the school environment, it is always important to know how to best deal with it.
The process of reporting and filing a sex abuse claim against a school starts from the disclosure from the child as a victim to the reporting.
As there is often a lot of shame and fear involved in this process, it is important to partner with relevant organizations that can offer the needed support to get through the experience successfully.
Here are some steps to follow to successfully file a child abuse claim:
Disclosure of child sex abuse
As we mentioned earlier, victims of child sexual abuse may have trouble speaking up because of feelings of guilt and shame. There are however several hints that adults might miss out on such as a change in character or out-of-character statements. This may include statements like
I don’t want to go to school because it is uncomfortable how ___________ touches me.
___________ said if I tell you, he will be angry with me.
I am bad, and so __________ punished me for it.
Having a safe and non-judgmental environment will encourage children to open up about abuse more easily. When disclosure is happening, the adult needs to retain composure and not pass judgment.
Constant reassurance and a show of affection are needed to remind the child that you are there to keep them safe. Seek clarity from the child as they tell their story and know that kids may not always have the words to properly describe what happened.
Reporting child sexual abuse
Suspected child abuse needs to be reported to the authorities. This is especially important in a school setting as it prevents the perpetrators from continuing with the abuse of other children.
When reported immediately, the first cause of action is to take the child to the nearest emergency room for a physical examination. This ensures that there is a preservation of the available evidence and it also helps to assess the presence and extent of physical damage from the abuse on the child.
Even when child sexual abuse is reported later, the relevant authorities and child care agencies should be notified immediately.
Seeking justice after a child sexual abuse incident looks different for different people. The possible options include filing criminal charges and filing civil lawsuits among others.
Partnering With Organizations for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
Going through the process of repowering and recovering from child sexual abuse is harrowing for both the victim and the guardians or parents involved. In such a vulnerable and fragile state of mind, it is easy for the perpetrators or the school organization to manipulate the situation and go free without having justice served.
Partnering with a relevant organization ensures that your situation is handled with the utmost confidence and trust making the disclosure process easy for the victim while providing tools for healing. It is also possible to stay abreast with the relevant laws around child sexual abuse in different states and make provisions to act accordingly.
Most organizations also do this work for free as they realize that one of the prime reasons child sexual abuse is rarely reported is because of a lack of funding for lawyers’ fees. The process is always easier when there is a loving hand to hold you through it and such organizations can be just that.
Child sexual abuse has the potential to create long-lasting trauma to children and guardians or parents because of how vulnerable they are left feeling.
Reporting such cases and taking action against schools that allow for an environment that is unsafe for children is among the first steps of healing and recovering from this trauma. It is not always an easy process but light shines bright at the end of the tunnel.