Some communities offer support groups specifically for mothers of sexually abused children. It is important to have a safe place to talk about issues following the disclosure of your child's abuse. Groups are effective because they involve other women who have experienced what you are feeling and thinking. Support groups are not therapy groups , led by a therapist, but are usually self-led groups similar to 12-step self-help groups. Support groups help mothers gain a sense of belonging, reduce isolation, increase social support, and increase self-esteem, and learn communication, healthy coping, and problem-solving skills. Often women remain in groups for long periods of time, both because they continue to receive support from the group and because they want to help new mothers coming into the group.
Suggestions for resourcing support groups in your area include:
- Call the Victim Services Coordinator at your county courthouse and request information about a local support group for mothers.
- Call the local Women's Resource Center or Crisis Center to access information about support resources in the community. Women's Resource Centers sometimes offer a variety of groups for women, and an information and/or support group for mothers is sometimes available.
- Call the local Child Abuse Assessment Center and ask for information about support groups in your area.
- Call a local sex offender therapist. They sometimes offer treatment services to other family members and would be knowledgable about local resources for mothers.
- Call local therapists, requesting their expertise in the area of child sexual abuse and their knowledge of local support groups for mothers.
Other types of self-help groups may be helpful to mothers in dealing with the grief and emotions following disclosure. For example: Nonoffending spouse groups, Codependents Anonymous, and Al-Anon.