Other family members who may perpetrate child sexual abuse
- Uncles and aunts
- Great-uncles and great-aunts
- Step-family members
No one is exempt from this list.
If any one of these individuals in the family abused your child, and you do not hold it a secret, the family unit will struggle with the decision. Many will have strong, defined opinions regarding what you "should" do. It is important to have objective feedback from safe counseling relationships. Family members will struggle with this dynamic and may not be helpful with decision-making.
Maintaining distance from the perpetrator may be difficult. Strength of the family unit and existing relationship patterns will influence the amount of time and space to do this. Victims may or may not want to maintain a distance, even temporary. The child victim may have cognitive distortions based on ways of thinking that the perpetrator fostered.
Family get-togethers, holidays celebrations, camping trips, birthday parties - all present logistical and emotional dilemmas. At the time that the child victim needs support and protection, the family is limited in its ability to reach out.
Remember: Sex offenders do not just "age-out" of sexual abuse the way teenagers may age-out of delinquency. Grandfathers whose last prior abusive incident was 15-20 years ago may abuse a grandchild. (See Statistics.) Children are not safe from perpetrators simply because the offenders are older and perceived to present as lower risk.