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My son told me he was sexually abused, but then he took it back. How can I tell which was the truth?

 

A:

Many children often disclose sexual abuse, but then fear telling the truth so they recant. When children do this, it does not mean they are lying. In fact, experts indicate that most children who take back what they said did tell the truth when they originally disclosed. Recantation is actually more common in sexual abuse cases as studies show that approximately 23 percent of children who disclose sexual abuse also recant after disclosing.

Why do children recant sexual abuse?

Sometimes younger children are more likely to recant than older children. Disclosure is a very difficult process because most children are sworn to secrecy or threatened by their abuser. This gives them mixed feelings about telling the truth due to the following reasons:

  • Fear – fear of what will happen to them, their family, and to the abuser
  • Denial – denying to themselves that they were sexually abused
  • Worry – worrying that their parents will be angry with them
  • Protection – protecting the secret and the abuser

When children tell the truth and are stuck dealing with the above issues in their minds, they may attempt to take back what they said. Also, sometimes children recant during the legal process because they want to avoid situations that are upsetting and stressful. This is why an attorney who has previously represented child sexual abuse victims in Florida should be sought.

An attorney can also help you find a counselor or psychiatrist who has experience working with child sexual abuse victims. Although this can be expensive, it is best for your child’s wellbeing to talk with a professional about the abuse. Call the Mallard Law Firm today at 888-409-3805 and talk with a Sarasota child injury lawyer in a confidential, complimentary consultation. 


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney