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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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Being trauma informed

The following tips may help you when supporting children & young people affected by CSA. These will need to be adapted to the age and level of understanding of the child or young person. 


  • Listen to them (it can come out at any time so stop what you are doing and pay attention). Allow them to talk about the pain and grief. Acknowledge how they are feeling ("It’s okay to feel…"). 
  • Talk about it with them when they are ready, either verbally or via drawings, paintings. They may act out to get your attention if they feel unheard or confused. 
  • Acknowledge that it may be difficult or scary for them to talk to you about what happened and how they feel. This is important because once they start talking about it, it becomes less scary for them. 
  • Give the child affirmations even if their behaviour is challenging, "I’m glad you are here", "I like who you are". This is to remind them that you are there for them. 
  • Play with children as often as you can. It has been scientifically proven that play helps to calm children. If the child you are supporting is older, try to spend time with them doing something they enjoy. 
  • Find ways for them to relax, if possible on a daily basis. Relaxation also helps to calm the body. 
  • If they have a flashback or panic attack, help them to focus on the present – what they can see, hear, feel and smell. Encourage them to take slow deep breaths with the out breath being longer than the in breath. 

Barnardo's is a charity (216250 / SC037605) and a company limited by guarantee.
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