on this page
This page is mostly links to websites, but I also suggest some books and provide detailed information on three hotlines for those seeking immediate help.
If you need immediate information about and/or connection to resources in your own community, here are four 24-hour toll-free hotlines that you can call, three in the US and one in the UK:
Childhelp USA’s National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453
Childhelp USA is a non-profit organization “dedicated to meeting the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children.” Its programs and services include this hotline, which children can call with complete anonymity and confidentiality. For more information, including what to expect if you call, see Hotline and other helpful information at their web site. From the site: “The Childhelp USA® National Child Abuse Hotline is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Don’t be afraid to call. No one is silly or unimportant to us. If something is bothering you or you want information, CALL!”
Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) 800-656-4673 (HOPE)
RAINN has a 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline and a National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (chat) staffed with RAINN’s own trained volunteers and paid staff members who also have knowledge of sexual abuse issues and services, including those specific to males. The phone hotline automatically links callers to local counseling centers in their area with trained staff members who know about the effects of unwanted or abusive childhood sexual experiences and available local services. However, someone answering the phone at a local center may not understand issues and concerns specific to men, and may not know any local therapists or clinics qualified to help men. All calls are confidential, and callers may remain anonymous if they wish.
National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline 800-799-SAFE; 800-799-7233; 800-787-3224 TDD
This is a 24-hour-a-day hotline, staffed by trained volunteers who are ready to connect people with emergency help in their own communities, including emergency services and shelters. The staff can also provide information and referrals for a variety of non-emergency services, including counseling for adults and children, and assistance in reporting abuse. They have an extensive database of domestic violence treatment providers in all US states and territories. Many staff members speak languages besides English, and they have 24-hour access to translators for approximately 150 languages. For the hearing impaired, there is a TDD number. This is a good resource for people who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence or abuse, or who suspect that someone they know is being abused (though it is not perfect, and may not have the best number in your area). All calls to the hotline are confidential, and callers may remain anonymous if they wish.
ChildLine (UK) 0800 1111
“ChildLine is the free helpline for children and young people in the UK. Children and young people can call us on 0800 1111 to talk about any problem – our counsellors are always here to help you sort it out.”
How Long Does It Hurt? A Guide to Recovering from Incest and Sexual Abuse for Teenagers, Their Friends, and Their Families, by Cynthia Mather, Kristina Debye, Judy Wood, and Eliana Gill. This book was written by an incest survivor, and provides step-by-step guidance for sexually abused teenagers. It has a great deal of knowledge and resources to help teenagers understand what they are going through and overcome feelings of isolation, confusion, and self-doubt to truly heal.
It Happened to Me: A Teen’s Guide to Overcoming Sexual Abuse, by William Lee Carter. This workbook is written for teenagers, and has effective exercises help them learn about the different aspects of trauma, clarify their own ideas and beliefs, and explore new ways of feeling and relating. The author is a psychologist who works with sexually abused teens on a daily basis. His approach is very positive. The exercises focus on gaining the strength and confidence needed to reshape one’s self-image, connect with others in healthy ways, and develop the skills needed to realize one’s full potential.
Growing Beyond Survival: A Self-Help Toolkit for Managing Traumatic Stress, by Elizabeth Vermilyea .If you want to start learning and practicing the self-regulation skills essential to recovering from the effects of child abuse, or to build on progress you are already making, particularly if you struggle with dissociation, I recommend this book. To learn more about the book and/or order it directly from the publisher (for a higher price than Amazon), go to the Growing Beyond Survival page of the Sidran Press catalog.
Trauma and Recovery, by Judith L. Herman. First published in 1992, this classic will always be one of the best books on psychological trauma and recovery, particularly extreme child abuse. Herman integrates a great deal of research with decades of clinical wisdom and some thought-provoking historical and political perspectives. Trauma and Recovery is appropriate for survivors of child abuse and other interpersonal traumas, as well as clinicians and the general reader. I especially recommend this book to students and others just beginning to learn about child abuse and how people recover from these experiences. Though a lot has been learned since Herman wrote this book, it has easily stood the test of time.
The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk. Published in 2014 this book became an instant classic and New York Times Bestseller, and for good reason: van der Kolk conveys decades of clinical experience and wisdom, along with a good deal of science, on psychological trauma and its treatment. He has never been shy about pushing forward the edges of knowledge and treatment, and this brilliant book is helping shift popular and professional understanding of trauma and its treatment beyond the usual confines.
The following two books offer a wealth of helpful information, including explanations of post-traumatic stress disorder and related problems, and many great techniques for managing trauma-related emotions, memories and various other symptoms and problems commonly struggled with by people who were abused as children.
The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms, by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook, by Glenn Schiraldi
There are numerous websites with content addressing child abuse and recovery issues in addition to those already mentioned on this page. Below is a sampling of sites that I recommend.
If reading material on these issues may disturb or upset you, remember to take care of yourself, and that you can always come back to this page or any of the links below when you feel prepared.
1in6.org The mission of 1in6 is “to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.” Their website has many resources for the men they serve, and for people who care about them. (I was a founding board member, long-time adviser, and wrote most of the pages on the 1in6 website.)
Center for Sex Offender Management is a Project of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. “Established in June 1997, the Center for Sex Offender Management’s (CSOM) goal is to enhance public safety by preventing further victimization through improving the management of adult and juvenile sex offenders who are in the community.” In addition to Frequently Asked Questions, the site has a wealth of information, including Myths and Facts About Sex Offenders and Recidivism of Sex Offenders.
ChildTrauma Academy This organization, Directed by Dr. Bruce Perry, “focuses on service, training and research in the area of child maltreatment.” The site has a number of articles by Dr. Perry, including explanations of child abuse effects and Helping Traumatized Children - A Brief Overview for Caregivers.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) “Volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are everyday people who are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. A CASA volunteer stays with each child until he or she is placed into a safe, permanent and nurturing home.” More than 900 CASA programs are in operation across the United States, with 52,000 women and men serving as CASA volunteers. This website of National CASA explains what CASA’s do, how to become one, etc.
Crimes Against Children Research Center “The mission of the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) is to combat crimes against children by providing high quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners.” The center is directed by Dr. David Finkelhor, a sociologist and internationally recognized expert on child victimization, including child sexual abuse. The site has many good resources, including a Publications section with the paper, The Decline in Child Sexual Abuse Cases, and a classic 1993 scholarly review paper, The impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies.
Darkness to Light Their mission is to shift responsibility for child sexual abuse prevention from children to adults, reduce child sexual abuse through adult-based education and awareness, and provide adults with information to prevent, recognize and react responsibly. Site includes many useful resources, articles, etc.
David Baldwin’s Trauma Info Pages are loaded with scholarly resources and references to work on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially from neurobiological and cognitive-behavioral perspectives.
EMDR Institute Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been proven to be an effective and efficient treatment for PTSD, which can be an effect of childhood abuse. It can be particularly helpful at transforming intrusive and upsetting memories of abuse, and does not require one to talk about what happened in detail (for those avoiding therapy for this reason). The EMDR Institute provides referrals to EDMR-trained therapists around the country (by zipcode) and around the world. You can also find EMDR therapists through the Find a Therapist service of the EMDR International Association, whose primary objective is to “establish, maintain and promote the highest standards of excellence and integrity in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practice, research and education.”
FaithTrust Institute is an international, multifaith organization working to end sexual and domestic violence. We provide communities and advocates with the tools and knowledge they need to address the religious and cultural issues related to abuse. FaithTrust Institute works with many communities, including Asian and Pacific Islander, Buddhist, Jewish, Latino/a, Muslim, Black, Anglo, Indigenous, Protestant and Roman Catholic.”
Jennifer J. Freyd’s Trauma, Memory, and Betrayal Trauma Research This page has links to reviews of Dr. Freyd’s books and web pages on which she discusses several clarifying perspectives on these issues, including her theory of why it is adaptive for some children not to remember childhood abuse experiences.
isurvive.org - Abuse Survivors Learning to Thrive This volunteer-run web site and non-profit organization has many great resources – the most valuable being the people who help each other by sharing their experiences, struggles and hard-earned wisdom. There are online chats and forums for survivors of child abuse, including those struggling with addiction and abusing others, as well as friends and family members. It also has a great resources page with many not listed here.
Making Daughters Safe Again This organization and its web site, founded and directed by a graduate student in clinical psychology, provide “support for survivors of mother-daughter sexual abuse.”
MaleSurvivor Their mission: “We are committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.” Their site has many helpful resources.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTS) This network of treatment centers was created by an initiative of the US Congress just a few years ago. Their mission is “To raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States.” The site has many great resources, including for parents, caregivers, and school personnel. For example, to find professional help for a child or adolescent, see the How to Find Help page, and the Network Members page, which lists centers and clinics all around the US, each of which will know of excellent resources in the
National Crime Victim Bar Association An organization of attorneys who work for victims of crime, including child abuse, to pursue civil cases against perpetrators and other parties who may be found liable for physical and mental injuries suffered. See ‘Info for Victims,’ which includes information about how to find a qualified local attorney through their service.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has a 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline (800 656-4673) and a National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (chat) staffed with trained volunteers and paid staff members who also have knowledge of sexual abuse issues and services (though sometimes they are not adequately prepared to refer male callers). All calls are confidential, and callers may remain anonymous if they wish.
Safer Society Foundation is a nonprofit agency and national research, advocacy, and referral center for the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse. The SSF provides training and consultation to individuals, agencies, states and organizations. Their web site has a list of Safer Society Press books and videos. For information about their listings of therapists who work with people who have ‘harmful and/or sexual behavior problems,’ see their online treatment referral service page.
Self-Compassion Dr. Kristin Neff’s site includes scholarly research and exercises for how to increase self-compassion. People who have experienced abuse in childhood often have a difficult time being compassionate toward themselves, and instead get caught in being judgmental toward themselves, self-pitying, and/or self-indulgent. This site provides a healthier, healing alternative, and is written for ‘students, researchers, and the general public.’
Sidran Institute This is a national non-profit organization that offers services to helps people understand, recover from, and treat traumatic stress (including PTSD), dissociative disorders, and co-occurring issues, such as addictions, self injury, and suicidality. There are many excellent resources here.
Silent Edge This page has links to several resources addressing sexual abuse and exploitation by coaches, particularly of figure skaters.
Stop It Now! is an organization “that believes all adults must accept the responsibility to recognize, acknowledge and confront the behaviors that lead to the sexual abuse of children. We offer adults tools they can use to prevent sexual abuse - before there’s a victim to heal or an offender to punish. In collaboration with our network of community-based Stop It Now! programs, we reach out to adults who are concerned about their own or others’ sexualized behavior toward children.”
SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is “a national self-help organization of men and women who were sexually abused by Catholic priests (brothers, nuns, deacons, teachers, etc). Members find healing and empowerment by joining with other survivors.”
Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse - A Guide for Primary Care Providers This is a great resource with sections addressing potential ‘triggers’ in medical procedures and doctor-patient interactions, as well as recommendations for how to manage patients responses most sensitively and effectively. It specifically addresses several areas of practice: Obstetrics & Gynecological Care; In Office PT or Physical Exams; Oral Exams; Ultrasounds & Mammograms; Counseling Substance Abuse Behaviors; Treating Depression & other Psychiatric Illnesses.
The Trauma Center, founded by Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert in the field of traumatic stress studies, is a clinic affiliated with the Boston University School of Medicine. The site includes publications and products from Dr. van der Kolk and his colleagues at the The Trauma Center.
Tips for Abuse Survivors and Their Dentists As indicated by its name, this page at Dental Fear Central was written for abuse survivors and their dentists, and has some helpful advice on dealing with many of the issues and difficulties that can arise.