10 Things to do when you get to know about a survivor
- It’s not the child’s fault – Remind the child that it is the perpetrator’s fault but not his/hers. Appreciate their braveness to speak about the incident.
- Understand the child – Give an empathetic listening ear to the child. Let the child realize that you are against this kind of abuse & exploitation.
- Approach parents or a caregiver – Speaking out about the problem/s and seeking advice from these adults may feel very embarrassing or scary for child. But in order to manage the situation effectively, encourage the child to reach out to parents or a caregiver.
- Collect and secure the evidences – Guide the child to collect and secure the evidences of the perpetrator’s acts. These could be messages, images, videos, screen shots, voice recordings, e mails and etc. Even in handing over the evidences to a trustworthy individual & authority, ensure the child has an additional secured copy of all the evidences.
- Do not respond or retaliate to the comments of the harasser – Retaliating with harsh words or getting into an argument with the harasser will lead the child into participating in their actions. Sometimes a reaction is exactly what the perpetrators are looking for because they think it gives them power over the child. So encourage the child not to engage with them any further.
- Security settings are of high priority – Protect the social media accounts, using relevant private and security settings.
- Report and block – Most social media apps and services allow blocking the person. Block the perpetrator and report the relevant profiles & their relevant actions.
- Legal procedures – Online child sexual exploitation is a crime. Explain the child and parents/ caregivers about the existing legal framework & provisions and encourage the child to reach out to relevant authorities.
- Reach out to a professional – Encourage the child to reach out to a professional (medical professional, mental health professional, technical professional and etc.) for further support
- Follow up – Develop a mechanism to follow up with the child during the initial contact itself.
A Guide on how a child can approach parents or caregivers during an Online Sexual Exploitation
Most of the children are in need of discussing their problems with their parents or care givers but do not know how to begin the discussion.
The following tips will be helpful.
- Help the child to be clear about what is going on – If he/she is vague, parents or caregivers may not understand adequately and may be less able to support. Encourage the child to tell the whole story.
- Encourage the child to talk about how the harassment makes him/her feel – Does he/she feel hurt? Afraid? Frustrated? Annoyed? Just glad it’s over?
- Help the child to plan when to approach parents or care givers – Encourage the child to talk to them when they can give full attention. If they’re busy with something else, they won’t be able to listen to what the child is saying as well. On the other hand, informing them at an early stage would be effective in addressing the situation.
- Encourage the child to find answers together with parents or care givers -Sometimes, parents or caregivers may not know how to stop the harassment. The Child may know more than what parents know. If that’s the case, encourage the child to share them about online child sexual exploitation and share websites and other resources that could be helpful. This way, they’ll have a better idea of what the child is going through.
Here are some ways that a child can open the conversation with his/her parents:
- “Mom/Dad, I want to talk to you about something that happened to me online the other day. It’s kind of hard for me to talk about… so, anyways, here’s what happened…”
- “Mom/Dad, I got this message the other day, and it kind of freaked me out…”
- “Mom/Dad, I need your help to figure out how to deal with something that’s been going on online…”