Why didn’t they tell me?
If your child didn’t tell you about the abuse or delayed in telling you, this is normal. We know children may not tell anyone or delay in telling anyone for a range of reasons:
they felt ashamed or embarrassed. The most recent report from The Office of National Statistics shows that this is the most common reason for not reporting, accounting for 53-58%
they weren't sure how to talk about it or couldn’t find a space to
they haven’t recognised it as abuse. Children are often groomed prior to abuse and may think what is happening is normal.
they were worried about how other people might respond or what was going to happen. They may have thought:
● ‘I won’t be believed’
● ‘Nothing will be done about it’
● ‘I might be seen as different.'
● ‘This is going to cause problems in my family/community/school.'
● ‘This might make the abuse worse for others’
● ‘I may be taken away from home.’
● ‘I don’t want the police or social services involved in my life.’
● ‘I don’t want the abuser to get in trouble’ (because of feelings of loyalty, love, fear).
● ‘I’m going to be blamed.'
● ‘Nude pictures of me will be found, which I’m embarrassed about.’
● ‘He/she is going to hurt or embarrass me or my family or someone else.'
The important thing is that you know and can support them. We know from research that a supportive response from parents and carers is one of the most important things that helps children make sense of, get support for and move on from abuse.
How you respond can help your child to share these worries and feel they aren’t alone in what happens next.
All child sexual abuse, past or current, should be reported to police. If a child is at immediate risk of harm, you should call 999.