Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre_Parent Support Handbook


Parent Information and Support Handbook

Page 1 of 32

July 2016

. . . . . Table of Contents

What is Child Sexual Abuse?.................................................................................. p. 3

Warning Signs ...................................................................................................... p. 4 Normal Childhood Sexual Exploration vs. Sexually Abusive Situations ................. p. 7 Age Appropriate Sexual Development and Behavior ............................................. p. 8 How to know if a Child is Disclosing Sexual Abuse ................................................ p. 9 How to Respond When a Child Discloses Sexual Abuse ..................................... p. 12 Common Feelings Associated with Sexual Abuse Disclosures ............................ p. 13 How to Support a Child Following a Sexual Abuse Disclosure ............................ p. 14 How to Report Known or Suspected Child Abuse ................................................ p. 15 What Happens Following a Report? ................................................................... p. 16 Sexual Abuse Prevention Tips ............................................................................ p. 18 Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre ....................................................................... p. 22 Myths and Facts ................................................................................................... p. 27 Helpful Resources................................................................................................ p. 28 My Contacts ......................................................................................................... p. 30 Notes ................................................................................................................... p. 31 References .......................................................................................................... p. 32

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. . . . . What is Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity (both touching and non- touching activities) with a minor. It is a crime punishable by law that must be reported.

Sexual Touching Includes:

• Touching a child’s genitals or private parts for sexual pleasure • Making a child touch someone else’s genitals • Making a child play sexual games • Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal • Putting objects inside the vagina, in the mouth, or in the anus of a child for sexual pleasure • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate • Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children • Sex trafficking • Showing pornography to the child • Photographing a child in sexual poses • Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts • Inappropriately watching a child undress or use the bathroom • Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare • Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction • Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor

Sexual Non- touching Includes:



Children CAN heal from sexual abuse and move on to live happy lives!

See pg.8 to learn the difference between normal childhood sexual exploration between children and a sexually abusive situation.

Not sure if it’s abuse? Call us! 604.584.5811

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. . . . . Warning Signs

Children are less likely to talk about what is upsetting them and more likely to show us.

Behavioural Warning Signs

Age inappropriate sexual play or sexual knowledge

Acting out in an sexual way with toys or objects

Disrupted sleep patterns and nightmares

Running away

Becoming withdrawn or very clingy

Inserts objects into vagina or rectum

Becoming unusually secretive (i.e. about new friends, phone calls, internet use) Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure

Directs sexually intrusive behaviour to adults

Changes in school performance/attendance

Regressing to younger behaviours, such as bedwetting

Unexplained developmental setbacks (i.e. not toilet trained) Involved in sexually exploitive activities (i.e. performing sex acts for money)

Fear of particular places or people

Outbursts of anger and aggression

Flinches when touched

Changes in eating habits

Misuse of drugs or alcohol

New adult words for body parts and no obvious source Talk of a new, older friend, and unexplained money or gifts

Not wanting to be alone with a particular child, young adult, or adult

Forces another child to participate in sexual play

Self-harm (i.e. cutting, burning, or other harmful activities)

Stealing, fire setting

Being overly protective of siblings

Easily startled/frightened

Adapted from:

Physical Warning Signs

See your doctor if you notice any of the following physical warning signs: • Unexplained or persistent pain • Discolouration, bleeding, or discharge in genitals, anus or mouth • Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements • Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training • Pregnancy • Sexually transmitted diseases

Any one of the above signs DOES NOT mean that a child was or is being sexually abused - but the presence of several signs, suggests that you should consider seeking help .

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Child Sexual Abuse Warning Signs: The Perpetrator

There may be cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult or teenager if they engage in any the following behaviours:

• Refuse to allow a child their privacy or to make their own decisions • Excessively washing a child (e.g., multiple trips to the washroom) • Repeatedly using poor judgment with children (e.g., not dressing them in weather appropriate clothing when caring for them) • Ignoring physical, emotional, and social boundaries - making others feel uncomfortable • Forced physical affection such as tickling, kissing, hugging or wrestling • Commenting on the sexual development of a child or teenager (e.g., commenting on breast development) • Creating opportunities for uninterrupted time alone with a child • Spending a lot of time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age • Regularly offer to baby-sit children for free • Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no reason • Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom “accidentally” • Favouring a certain child, calling them “special” • Telling sexual jokes to a child or in the presence of a child • Taking pictures of children in underwear, bathing suits, etc., • Showing a child adult or animated pornography • Tickle a child and “accidentally” touch genitalia • Frequently inviting children to sit on their lap despite the child appearing resistant • Encouraging children to act sexually towards one another




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Who Sexually Abuses Children?

8 out of 10 children who are sexually abused know their abuser

Although strangers can and do sexually abuse children, in 8 out of 10 child sexual abuse cases, the victim knows their abuser. Known abusers can include anyone, from family and extended family members to someone in the family’s circle of trust, such as coaches, babysitters, family friends etc. Offenders come from all genders, classes, racial backgrounds, religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations. Some abusers are other children and youth - it is important to know the difference between normal child sexual exploration and sexual abuse among children (see page 8 for more information).


Some offenders may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child. More commonly, grooming is used as a subtle, gradual, and escalating process of building trust with a child/adolescent in order to use the trust of the relationship in order to abuse the child/adolescent and/or to keep the abuse a secret.

Common Grooming Strategies

 Identifying with the child/adolescent - making the abuser appear to be the only one who understands him/her  Displaying common interests in sports, music, movies, video games, television shows, etc.  Recognizing and filling the child/adolescent’s need for affection and attention  Allowing the child/adolescent to break rules  Giving gifts or special privileges to the child/adolescent.

Purpose of Grooming

• To manipulate how other adults around the child perceive the relationship • To manipulate the child into co-operating with the abuse • To create a relationship with the child that makes them less likely to disclose (e.g., they don’t want to get the person “in trouble”) • To reduce the likelihood of the child being believed if they do disclose • To reduce the likelihood of someone finding out about the abuse

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. . . . . Normal Childhood Sexual Exploration between Children vs. Sexually Abusive Situations


Children and youth normally explore, experiment and/or play games related to sex and sexuality with other same-aged children and youth. However, the following situations would be cause for concern and should be addressed immediately: • When one child/youth forces the other child/youth to engage in the behavior • When there is an age difference between the children/youth • When there is a noticeable size difference between the children and youth • When there are differences in ability between the children (e.g., one child has a disability) • When one child has a known history of sexual abuse • Anytime there is a difference in power between the children/youth (e.g., bully and unpopular youth)

Adapted from: & the work of Tony Cavanaugh Johnson

If your child has engaged in sexual exploration with another child or youth, and you’re not sure it was abusive, call us! 604.584.5811

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. . . . . Age Appropriate Sexual Development

Sexual Development

Remember that each child develops at his or her own pace and not every child will show the behaviours described below.

Pre-school Children 0-5 years of age



• Use childish ‘sexual’ language to talk about body parts • Ask where babies come from • Touch/rub/explore their own genitals • Show and look at private parts • Interested in watching/peeking at people in bathroom

• Talk about sex • Have sexual contact with other children • Show adult-like sexualized behaviours • Continue to touch/rub genitals in public after being told “no” • Wanting to be continually nude in public, or refusing to put clothes on • Continually being caught watching/peeking at people in washroom after being told not to

Pre-school Children 0-5 years of age



• Ask questions about menstruation, pregnancy, and other sexual behaviour • Experiment with other children, often during games, kissing, touching, showing, and role playing (e.g., moms & dads or doctors & nurses) • Masturbate in private • Want privacy when in bathroom or changing clothes

• Masturbate in public • Display fear or anger about babies or intercourse • Show adult like sexual behaviour or knowledge • Frequently trying to play sexualized games (e.g., playing doctor) after being told “no” • Forcing other children to play games related to sex and sexuality • Imitating sexual behaviors with dolls/toys • Aggressive or tearful in demand for privacy

Adolescents 13-19 years



• Ask questions about relationships and sex • Use sexual language and talk between themselves about sex • Looks at nude pictures/seek out pornography • Masturbate in private • Experiment sexually with adolescents of similar age (About one third of adolescents have sexual intercourse before the age of 16)

• Masturbate in public • Have sexual contact with much younger children or adults

• Trying to show others nude photos or pornography despite being told to stop

Adapted from: & the work of Tony Cavanaugh Johnson

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. . . . . How to Know if a Child is Disclosing

Children rarely will disclose sexual abuse in a clear and direct way. They will often make comments or ask questions that indirectly hint of the abuse.

What disclosure from a child might sound like:

• “Do you like _____________________?” • “ _____________________ is mean” • “ ______________ does not pay attention to me anymore” • “ _____________________ likes girls better than boys” • “I don’t want to be babysat by _____________ anymore” • “I don’t like _____________________ anymore” • “Please don’t leave me with _____________________” (Child is in distress and avoids being left alone with a certain individual) • “I don't like it when you’re gone” • “I have something to tell you but I won’t.” • “I feel uncomfortable when you aren’t here” • “I’m not comfortable with _____________________” • “I’m bad” • “You’ll be mad at me” • “_____________________ gets mad a lot” • “_____________________ did things to me” • “_____________________ does bad stuff to me that I don't like” • “_____________________ plays games with me that I don't like”


What parents can say in response to these comments and questions: • “Can you tell me more about how you feel when you’re with ?”

• “Did something happen when you were with that made you upset?”

• “If anyone has hurt you or touched your body in a way you don’t like, you can tell me. You will not get in trouble.”

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Why do Children Keep the Abuse a SECRET?

Does not want to lose perceived benefits (e.g., gifts)

Feels like they participated in the abuse due to grooming and manipulation

Feels they will be blamed

Abuser is a family member or trusted adult

Fears judgment

Feels shame and embarrassment

“Didn't think anyone would believe me”

“It was my fault”


Has either been threatened with violence or there is a threat of violence against his/her family, friends, and pets

They have been taught that their private parts are “gross” and that they shouldn’t talk about them

Believes that they are receiving love and acceptance from the offender

“Didn't want parents/friends to find out”

Does not think they have a safe adult to tell

Does not recognize that they have been victimized

Fears their life will change dramatically (e.g., fears family will break up)

Adapted from:

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 There is little evidence to support that children make false accusations/allegations or misinterpret appropriate adult-child contact as sexual abuse . 


Children may still deny that abuse took place, even after making a disclosure. This is a confusing time for children with many mixed emotions – especially if the offender is someone they know and trust. It is not uncommon for children to deny the abuse when questioned by an adult authority figure (e.g., police). Children are often hesitant, and may seem confused and/or uncertain during a disclosure. Their disclosure may appear vague or inconsistent, fluctuate and/or seem unbelievable. These factors do not mean that the child is lying nor do they suggest that the child does not need adult support.

Adapted from:

In EVERY case of child sexual abuse, it is NEVER the child’s fault . The offender is responsible for the abuse no matter what the child does. This is important to emphasize when a child discloses.

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. . . . . How to Respond When a Child Discloses

Process your own feelings and seek support. As you learn about the child’s experiences, it is important to share your feelings with other adults or professionals who can help you to cope.


Believe the child. Trust the child even when it is hard or difficult to believe. False accusations are highly unlikely. Take their disclosure seriously.


Talk Openly. Show the child that you are willing to listen and talk about their experience openly, rather than avoiding the topic. However, you need not draw out details or engage in extensive conversations, let the child set the pace, and do not correct the child’s language. Use active listening. Listening quietly and using simple, encouraging remarks (such as “ I understand or how did you feel when that happened?”), repeating back what you heard, and using positive body language and good eye contact. Respond in a calm, clear tone of voice. Provide comfort, but do not make promises that are unrealistic, as much as you may want to (such as “ nothing bad will ever happen again” ) Create a safe supportive space. If the child begins to talk about traumatic experiences, encourage the child to share their thoughts and feelings and be prepared for some questions that you may not be able to answer immediately. It is fine to say “That is a very good question; I’m going to have to think (or get some information) about that before I answer it ” Recognise the child’s difficulty. Acknowledge the child ’ s efforts to talk with you about the abuse (e.g., “ I’m really glad that you’re talking to me about what happened. I’m proud of you, because this must have been very difficult for you to do”) Provide constructive feedback. After praising the child for their courage and effort, when possible, provide constructive feedback if what the child shares reveals misconceptions or lack of information (e.g., “ A lot of kids think what happened is their fault. But you know what? It’s always the adult’s fault”)







Report Immediately. See page 16 on How to Report Suspected Sexual Abuse.


Adapted from:;

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..... Common Feelings Associated with Sexual Abuse Disclosures . . Common Feelings As ociate Sexual Abuse Disclos

How Your Child Might Feel:

• Feeling afraid that their abuser will harm them again • Feeling fearful that their abuser may harm someone they love • Feeling fearful that they will not be believed • Feeling fearful that people will think differently of them • Believing they are responsible for the abuse (often due to grooming) • Feeling that they are “weird” or “not normal” due to victimization • Feels guilt about upsetting the family by telling • Feels ashamed if the abusive touching felt good (i.e., normal body responses)


Guilt & Shame

• Is relieved to tell the sexual abuse secret • Hopeful that they will be supported and get help

Hope & Relief

Mixed Emotions

• Feelings anger and love towards abuser (especially if family member) • Feeling relieved but sad


How the Parent/Caregiver Might Feel:

• You may feel rage toward the person who abused your child, betrayed your trust, and deceived and manipulated you • Anger at the child for not telling sooner • Anger at yourself for not ‘figuring it out’ or realizing sooner • Blaming yourself for not protecting your child • Guilt that the abuser was someone you love(d) • Feeling guilt for introducing abuser into your child’s life • Afraid of how the abuse will impact your child • Afraid of the consequences your child will have to suffer • Fearful about the family’s future and the consequences for the person who abused your child • This is much like anger, and ties in to wanting to take revenge on the offender for harming your child • Grieving for the loss of the life you had, or thought you had, before you knew about the sexual abuse • Feeling an extreme sense of isolation • Feeling like you’re the only one, and like no one can understand





Loneliness & Loss

Adapted from:

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. . . . . How to Support a Child Following a Sexual Abuse Disclosure

Structure Maintain structure by keeping activities and routines the same. Familiarity offers security for your child. Connection Check-in regularly to see how the child is feeling to show that you care. Communicating openly with your children will let them know that you are there for them. Show your child your support. Confidentiality Ensure that the abuse disclosure and information is only told to those who need to know. Make sure that anyone that does know does not to tell others. Children and youth will feel relieved to know that their private information is contained. Boundaries Re-establish boundaries if the child acts out. Redefining appropriate behaviour with limits will provide security for the child. Continue discipline as usual – parents often report feeling guilty disciplining their child following abuse; however these boundaries and structure remain important. Safety Part of re-establishing a felt sense of safety following abuse is to establish both emotional safety and physical safety . This means staying open to your child if/when they want to talk about what happened with you and using the strategies on page 15 when they do. An important part of re-establishing a felt sense of physical safety is reminding your child that they are safe and that you will keep them away from their offender .

More than anything a child needs to be reminded over and over that they are loved, that they are safe, and that they are not alone.

Adapted from:

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. . . . . How to Report Suspected or Known Child Abuse

Anyone who has REASON TO BELIEVE that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected MUST report the abuse to a child welfare worke r

If you think or know that a child is being abused you have the LEGAL DUTY to report your concern to a child welfare worker.

SURREY Ministry of Child and Family Development

Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm call: 604.501.3122

Afterhours, call: 604.660.8180

If the child is in IMMEDIATE DANGER and/or a criminal offense against a child has been or is likely to be committed. Call the POLICE 9-1-1

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. . . . . What Happens Following a Report?

Ministry of Children and Family Development Response

• Following a report the child welfare worker will assess the situation to determine the most appropriate response • If the child is in immediate danger the welfare worker will take immediate action in collaboration with other service providers to keep the child safe • Once the child is safe the welfare worker may offer support services, refer the child to a community agency (like Options Community Services) or take no further action, if no further action is required. • If the welfare worker believes the child is at risk of harm, they will proceed with an investigation

For a full description of the Ministry of Child and Family Development Response see:

Police Investigation

• Once a report to the police has been made, typically an initial interview will be conducted within 24 hours. This may or may not involve an interview with your child. • If the interview is being held at the police station, remind your child that they did the right thing by telling about the abuse, that they are not in trouble, and that the police are there to help keep them safe . • Police investigations take time • Although it is difficult to remain patient during this time, it may take up to a month (or more) before you hear from the investigating officer following the initial interview. • It is important to support your child throughout the investigative process. Although we advise not to ask direct questions related to the abuse, if your child discloses, refer to

The most important thing for your child at this time is to be reminded that they are safe, regardless of the outcome of the police investigation.

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page 15 to understand how to respond. If new details emerge during these conversations, report the new material to the investigating officer immediately. Please ask your SACC intake clinician for more information on how best to support your child during this process. • All questions regarding the police investigation should be directed at the officer assigned to your case. Although SACC clinicians are happy to assist you with general questions, we are not in the position to answer questions specific to your case. Even after you have signed a Consent to Release/Obtain Information Form, SACC clinicians are only granted access to some information on the file. • Once the investigation in complete, it is important to note: not all police investigations lead to an alleged offender to being charged. Not all police investigations lead to court. In many cases there is not enough evidence to move forward with charges or to court, but please remember this does not mean the abuse did not happen. • Do not hesitate to ask the investigating officer questions you have about the outcome of the investigation. If you require support in understanding this please speak to your SACC intake clinician or connect with a Victim Service Worker (see below).

Victim Service Workers

As a victim of crime you are entitled to access a Victim Service Worker. Victims and witnesses can call VictimLink whether or not they have reported the crime to police.

A victim service worker can provide support services such as: • Helping victims talk to police • Providing information about the criminal justice system • Providing court support, including going to court with victims •

Helping complete a crime victim assistance program application to apply for benefits • Helping to understand and prepare a victim impact statement and an emergency safety plan • Talking about the experience and helping people deal with emotions arising from being a victim of crime.

To get more information, support, and a referral to a victim service worker, call: VictimLink BC at 1.800.563.0808

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. . . . . Sexual Abuse Prevention Tips

• Open communication about sexuality and sexual abuse

teaches children that you are a safe person to talk to, ask questions of, and express concerns to. • Start early and talk often. It is best to incorporate these lessons into everyday routine conversations, to repeat the information numerous times, and restate the information when contextually appropriate (e.g., reminding child of touching rules before babysitter comes over). • Teach children the names for their body parts, about what abuse is and, when age-appropriate, about sex. • Use anatomically correct language when teaching children about their private parts and avoid labeling private parts as ‘yucky’ or ‘disgusting’. This provides them with the language they need to comfortably ask questions and express concerns.

Talk Openly About Sexuality and Sexual Abuse Openly

Adapted from:

Making your child aware of the dangers of sexual abuse will NOT TRAUMATIZE them but PREPARE them to protect themselves!

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Concretely explain the private part rules and what to do if they are broken .

The Private Part Rules

1. Other people, including other children, youth, and adults, should not be touching or looking at their private parts. 2. Other people, including other children, youth, and adults, should not be asking them to touch or look at their private parts.

Clearly identify who is allowed to touch/look at their private parts to provide care (e.g., Mom, Dad, and Doctor) and clearly state that NO ONE else is allowed, even if the person is a trusted adult/family member.

3. Other people, including other children, youth, and

adults, should not be showing them their private parts.

4. Other people, including other children, youth, and adults, should not be showing/sending them images or videos of private parts (e.g., pornography, ‘sexting’). 5. Other people, including other children, youth, and adults, should not be asking them to send images or videos of their private parts.

Teach children that if any of the “private part rules” are broken, they should TELL a trusted adult as soon as possible, and to keep telling , until the abuse stops

Let children know that sexual abuse should never be kept a secret , and that they will not “get in trouble” if they tell you this kind of secret.

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Teach Children and Youth How to Set Boundaries

• Empower children and youth to trust their ‘gut’ and to be ‘in charge’ of their body.

• All children & youth should know that it is okay to say “No” to unwanted or uncomfortable touch .

• Show children and youth that you respect their boundaries (e.g., respecting your child’s wish

not to receive a big wet kiss from Auntie Fran) and suggest alternative ways to greet family members that doesn’t involve uncomfortable touch.

• Teach children how to set boundaries around unwanted or uncomfortable touch. Emphasizing

the use of a strong assertive voice .

• Let children/youth know that they will never ‘get in trouble’ for setting a boundary.

• Model caring for your own body, and teach children how to care for theirs.

Adapted from:

To learn more about Personal Boundaries visit:

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MORE Tips for Protecting Your Children

• Familiarize yourself with the policies and practices of organizations where your children spend time. • Confirm background checks are conducted on all employees and volunteers. • Ensure policies are in place that prohibit situations where an adult can be alone with your child in one room when no one else is around. • Make sure they actually follow these policies – ask your child, stop by, check in, be aware.

When Away from Home

• Learn about the websites your children use regularly. Visit websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snap Chat, Instagram, Tinder, Vine, and others. See what other kids are doing there and how much information you can learn by doing simple searches. • Parents need to be aware of what is happening on-line. • Learn as much as you can about the issues of Internet Safety • Keep computers in common rooms of the house. • Set the rules about internet safety and your values early on. • Teach young children that they should not seek out relationships from on-line friends and that they should NEVER meet on-line friends in the real world.

While on the Internet

Recommended resource:

• Watch for changes in your child’s behavior. If your child is reluctant about going to certain places or with certain people, ask questions. • Notice their behavior before and after spending time alone with an adult. • Pass it on. Educate yourself. Educate your community. • Parents are our greatest resource. You have the power to make change happen in your neighborhood, at local schools and within child-serving organizations.

Be Vigilant and ASK Questions!

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. . . . . Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre

How Does Options Help Children and Parents in Dealing with Sexual Abuse?

If your child has experienced and/or witness sexual abuse, or where sexual abuse is suspected,

he or she may be eligible for short and long-term counselling in this program.

The Sexual Abuse Counselling Program provides a variety of services including: assessment,

individual counselling and non-offending family member/caregiver support.

Comprehensive services include:

• Clinical assessment to determine needs

• A broad range of treatment formats and modalities

• Expressive (art and play) therapy using professionally designed, state-of-the-art


• Education and emotional support for family members with respect to parenting

concerns, managing behaviours, preventing further abuse and communicating about

sexual abuse

• Assistance with applications for Crime Victim Assistance compensation, and in

accessing specialized help with the court process when needed

• Workshops and information sessions to increase community understanding about

sexual abuse

• Collaboration and consultation with specialized services and professionals

• Referrals to other services and resources in the community.

● ● ● With treatment, children and youth CAN HEAL and successfully MOVE FORWARD with their lives! ● ● ●

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Why Play Therapy?

Play is serious work for children. Play therapy can help children make sense of the world around them while they process and express their thoughts and feelings. Through play therapy children can also learn to respect themselves, learn that their feelings are acceptable, learn to be creative and resourceful, learn how to make choices, as well as help them to develop their capacity for self-control (Landreth, 2012).

What Happens in Play Therapy?

Play therapy usually occurs once a week, often on the

same day and time in a special place called the play therapy room.

The child usually directs the play around the issues, ideas, and feelings about which he/she is confused. The child expresses his or her difficult issues by having the toys take on various roles, feelings, or actions. Play therapists are trained to read the meaning behind various themes the child may play out as well as how to respond to the child’s issues through play. The therapist talks with the child about his or her play to help put

words to their feelings. The therapist accepts all feelings, helps the child label them, and encourages more appropriate

Children communicate through play. Play is the language of children, and the toys are their words.

ways of expression.

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Art therapy is the recognition that the process of creating art

work is therapeutic and healing. Art therapy is also an understanding that art is a form of symbolic communication

(Malchiodi, 2007).

Art making allows the child/youth to express themselves authentically allowing for emotional healing and


Working therapeutically with art enables children and youth to safely communicate non-verbally while processing important

issues, conflicts, and emotions.

The best part is - you don’t have to be “good at art” to benefit from art therapy!

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Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

What is TF-CBT?

TF-CBT is a therapy that helps children, youth and their families who have been affected by traumatic events.

How do we know that TF-CBT is effective?

TF-CBT has proven effectiveness with both children and youth who have experienced trauma.

What Does TF-CBT Include?



This component is for parents/caregivers and is to help them learn to handle behaviours the child/youth is showing that are difficult or are interfering with family relationships.

The child/youth and parent/caregiver identify typical trauma-related emotions such as fear or anxiety, sadness, or grief, anger, or shame, and learn specific skills to handle these difficult emotions in constructive ways.


The child/youth & parent/caregiver learn about traumatic stress; typical reactions and why they happen; about the systems that may be involved and may affect reactions; the connection between thoughts, feelings and behaviour; and what is involved in therapy.


The child/youth and parent/caregiver identify typical unhelpful trauma-related beliefs. They learn more accurate and helpful ways to think about what happened


The child/youth becomes able to remember and talk about what happened without being really upset or avoiding the memories and how to handle trauma reminders.

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There is a telephone referral made (by parents, or by another professional)


If you have not already completed a Crime Victim Assistance Application your intake clinician will assist you in doing so.(See below for more information)

An Intake Assessment is conducted with an OPTIONS clinician. This can take from 1 to 4 sessions


While on the waitlist, if you require any assistance, please call your intake clinician for support. For instance, if symptoms increase, or things change, please contact us.

Following the completion of an intake, you will be placed on a waitlist


Once your child is off of the waitlist you will be contacted by the clinician to begin counselling.

Counselling sessions are 1/week for 50 minutes .


Crime Victims Assistance Applications

If you are approved for services, CVAP provides financial assistance for private counselling services for immediate family members, victims, and witnesses in dealing with the effects of violent crime. At Options, children are offered free services until the age of 19; however, if you feel more support is required afterwards, financial assistance from CVAP may be acquired. If you are not approved for CVAP, an appeal can be made. If you feel you require immediate services while on the Options waitlist, and have been approved for CVAP, you have the option of using those funds to see a private practitioner. Please Note: If you choose to use your CVAP funding to see a private practitioner immediately, you will be removed from the waitlist. Either way, please let your intake clinician at Options know that you have applied, and whether you have been approved or not.

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. . . . . Myths & Facts

MYTH: If a drunk girl/guy consents to a sexual act, this consent is valid. FACT: It depends on how "drunk" the individual is and whether they are capable of understanding what they are consenting to.

MYTH: Most victims of sexual assault can prevent the assault from taking place by resisting. FACT: Offenders commonly overpower victims through threats and intimidation tactics. Moreover, many victims lack the capacity to appreciate or understand they are being assaulted due, in part, to extensive grooming processes that often occur.

MYTH: Children and youth are usually sexually abused by strangers. FACT: 75-80% of children and youth are abused by someone they know i.e. family members, relatives and/or close friends.

MYTH: Victims commonly dress in a way that increases their chances of being sexual assaulted. FACT: Most offenders cannot remember what the victim was wearing.

MYTH: Sexual assault reports are commonly false. FACT: Most statistics show approximately 2% or less of sexual assaults reported as false reports.

MYTH: Children lie about incest/sexual abuse. FACT: Children do not have explicit sexual knowledge to enable them to talk about sexual abuse unless they have experienced it. Children do not have the capacities to make it up.

MYTH: Only young girls are the victims and survivors of incest/sexual abuse. FACT: Young girls and boys are equally vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Source: MOSAC and

Page 27 of 32

. . . . . Helpful Resources

• VictimLink BC: at 1.800.563.0808 or text 604.836.6381 for information

• Helpline for Children

o Helpline for Children is a toll free helpline staffed by social workers who can provide help and answer questions regarding reports of child abuse or neglect. o Phone : 310.1234 (no area code required), 24 hours every day, to report a person under 19 who needs protection to the Ministry of Children and Family Development

o TTD (Telephone Device for the Deaf): 1.866.660.0505

• Ministry of Children and Family Development

o Report to a child protection social worker in either a Ministry of Children and Family Development office, or a First Nations child welfare agency that provides child protection services

Phone: 604.660.8180


o Various Locations:

• Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS)

o VACFSS is a non-profit society providing services to urban Aboriginal children and families living in the Greater Vancouver area.

o Phone : 778.331.4500 or toll free 1.877.331.4505

• Advocate/Representative for Children and Youth

o Since 2007, British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth has supported our province’s young people and their families in dealing with the provincial child and youth welfare system. o If you are a young person and need support or if you are an adult with a concern about the well-being of a young person, please contact the Office of the Representative confidentially at “”

Phone: toll free 1.800.476.3933


• Kids Help Phone

Phone: 1.800.668.6868


o Website:

• Crime Victim Assistance Program

o Crime Victim Assistance Program provides financial benefits to assist victims, immediate family members, and witnesses in dealing with the effects of violent crime

Phone : toll free 1.866.660.3888


o Email :

• Cyber Tip

o Canada’s national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children



Page 28 of 32

• Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

o The National Sexual Assault Hotline created by RAINN is a nationwide partnership of more than 1,100 local rape treatment hotlines and provides victims of sexual assault with free, confidential services around the clock.

o National Sexual Abuse ONLINE Hotline:

Phone: 1.800. 656 HOPE (4673)


• Victim Safety Unit

o Victim Safety Unit allows victims of crime and persons protected by a Family Relations Act restraining order to register for ongoing notification about the status of an adult accused/offender and financial assistance to travel to justice proceedings.

o Phone : 604.660.0316 or toll free 1.877.315.8822

Email :


• British Columbia Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

o The British Columbia Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse is a non-profit society, established to provide therapeutic services for males who have been sexually abused at some time in their lives.

Phone : 604.682.6482


o Website :

• Qmunity Resource Centre

o Qmunity Resource Centre provides counselling, resources, programs and peer support to the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual communities. Qmunity also operates Prideline, a peer support, information and referral helpline.

Phone : 604.684.5307


o Prideline : 604.684.6869 or toll free 1.800.566.1170

Website :


• HealthlinkBC

o HealthLinkBC is a gateway to non-emergency health information and services. A phone service, website and print resource provides an expanded health navigation system, access to advice from healthcare professionals and enables community members to look up symptoms and services. Translation services are available in over 130 languages on request o Phone : dial 8-1-1, nurses are available to answer questions 24 hours every day

TTY : dial 7-1-1


Website .


• Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society

o We are a non-profit organization offering free and confidential services in over twenty languages. We serve the population of clients in the entire Lower Mainland.

Phone: 604.436.1025


o Website:

Email: againstviolence@vlmf


Page 29 of 32

. . . . . My Contacts

List of My Important Contacts:



Role: Options Intake Clinician Phone:

Role: Victim Service Worker Phone:















Phone: Email:

Phone: Email:



Role: Phone:

Role: Phone:







Phone: Email:

Phone: Email:

Page 30 of 32

. . . . . Notes

Page 31 of 32

. . . . . References

The following resources were accessed in preparing and creating this document:

Bryce, G. K., (2011). A Detailed Consideration of a Counsellor’s Legal Duty to Report When a Child is in Need of Protection. Retrieved from

Canadian Center for Child Protection. (2015) Kids in the know: Program and Information . Winnipeg, Manitoba. Retrieved from:

Child Sexual Abuse: It is Your Business. (2014). Canadian Center for Child Protection: Helping families, protecting children. Retrieved from:

Children’s Assessment Center. Child Sexual Abuse Facts. Houston, TX. Retrieved from:

CyberTip. (2014). Canada’s National Tipline for Reporting the Online Sexual Exploitation of Children: Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved from :

Department of Justice. (n.d.) Age of Consent to Sexual Activity: Frequently asked questions.

Johnson, T.C. (2010). Behaviors Related to Sex and Sexuality in Preschool Children. Self-published.

Malchiodi, C. A. (2007). The Art Therapy Sourcebook. New York: McGraw-Hill.

MCFD (2007). Responding to Child Welfare Concerns: Your role in knowing when and what to report. Retrieved from

MCFD. The BC Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved from:

MOSAC: Supporting Non-abusing Parents and Carers of Sexually Abused Children. United Kingdom. Retrieved from:

Parents Protect: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse. Birmingham, UK. Retrieved from:

Sexual Assault in Canada: Information for Canadian Victims of Sexual Abuse. Canada. Retrieved from

Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. (2009). RAINN: Sexual Assault . Washington, DC. Retrieved from:

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