Detecting signs of sexual abuse—and then determining a course of action—may leave parents feeling overwhelmed. This free digital guide is a helpful starting point for adoption and permanency parents, and essential reading for anyone who parents or works with children and youth.

As the parent or a guardian of a child who has been adopted from care, it is important to be aware of the signs of a history of abuse. While the statistics around child sexual abuse are startling and heartbreaking, it’s important to remember that almost all children can recover from being sexually abused. Though most will require professional help, there is a tremendous amount that parents can also do. Having an understanding, supportive family is one of the biggest factors in a child’s recovery.

Even if you know that your child has not been abused, there is information in this guide that is essential reading for all parents. The children who are most likely to become victims are kids who feel detached, alone, or isolated—all feelings that foster kids and older adopted children may experience. Though the media scare us about stranger abduction and abuse, most children are in greatest danger within their own homes and communities. For these reasons, knowledge about sexual abuse is vital for all parents, especially adoptive parents. If you do suspect that your child has a history of abuse, it is important to remember that you and your child are not alone. There are lots of resources for families to help a child heal from former sexual abuse.

While this guide is just a starting point, our family support workers are always available to speak. Though not clinicians, they can provide free, confidential support and help you access more resources.