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Somerset Phoenix Project

Working alongside professionals and supporting children, young people and families affected by sexual abuse.

A specialist service supporting the development of professionals in Somerset. We are here to reduce the negative impact of child sexual abuse (CSA) on the lives of children and families living in Somerset

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The ripples of sexual abuse

Not only is your child affected by the abuse, but so are you - you are a secondary survivor.  Post-disclosure (after your child has told someone about the abuse) can be a chaotic, painful and possibly overwhelming time.  As a parent / carer you may find that you go through many different emotions yourself.

  • grief / pain
  • feeling of loss
  • sadness
  • shock
  • anger
  • rage
  • desire for revenge
  • denial
  • guilt
  • self-blame
  • confused
  • overwhelmed
  • relief
  • shame
  • betrayal
  • disgust
  • stress
  • anxiety








​You may also:

  • Worry about the effect the abuse has had on your child, how to tell other people, how others will react
  • Feel out of control and have mood swings
  • Feel isolation and loneliness, especially if certain people believe the abuser instead of your child and you
  • Feel you have failed as a parent and a possible loss of confidence in parenting abilities
  • Feel helpless
  • Have negative thoughts, e.g. ‘I should have known’, ‘It’s my fault’, ‘I can’t do this’
  • Feel that you are a bad parent
  • Believe that you are to blame for the abuse
  • Think you have lost touch with your child/children
  • Lack confidence to re-establish boundaries or healthy relationships with your children
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Get headaches
  • Be exhausted - physically and mentally

These are natural and normal responses; you too have gone into survival mode because you are a secondary survivor.

Attempting to parent a traumatised child when you are in trauma yourself can be frightening, challenging and very tiring.

One of the most important ways to help your child heal and recover is to look after yourself.

This is not being selfish, it is vital.  This is so that you have the emotional capacity to support your child.

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