Looking after your wellbeing
Tips to help you feel comfortable and ready to have conversations about child sexual abuse.
Talking about child sexual abuse can be difficult. Having conversations about child sexual abuse means we have to engage with a topic that can feel hard to think about. It can be especially hard for adults who have their own histories of childhood trauma, including child sexual abuse, as having conversations may bring up difficult memories and emotions.
There are ways you can prepare for having these conversations and look after your mental health and wellbeing ahead of time.
Seek initial support
It can be helpful to seek support from other adults in your life and start by talking to them about child sexual abuse.
Talking to other adults can help you to understand new perspectives and feel more comfortable talking about this topic. You can find guidance on our ‘Having conversations with other adults’ page.
Check in with yourself
It’s OK to have a range of different feelings and emotions when thinking about or talking about this topic, including feeling overwhelmed, confused or uncertain. You may want to take time to self-reflect and see if you are feeling mentally and emotionally prepared to have these conversations.
There are many tools online that can help with this. For example, Beyond Blue has a Mental Health Check-in and headspace has support and information about mental health and wellbeing, including for young people.
Prepare for conversations
Before you begin having conversations about child sexual abuse, there are some steps you can take to help you feel more prepared:
- knowing what to talk about during the conversation. You can find guidance for talking to children and young people, other adults and organisations on our 'Having conversations’ page
- knowing how to support an adult who may disclose historical or past abuse. You can find guidance on our How to respond to a child sexual abuse disclosure page.
- knowing where you can find support services. This topic may bring up strong feelings and questions for many people, but there are many services available to assist you. A list of support services is available on our Get support page.
It’s OK to take a break
Child sexual abuse is a hard topic to talk or even think about, so it’s important to take breaks when you need.
Simple things like going for a walk, doing something you enjoy, focusing on breathing and practicing calming exercises can help you to feel more in control of your thoughts and feelings and feel ready to have conversations.
Acknowledge and support feelings being shared
Take the time to acknowledge any feelings that might be shared during conversations. This helps create a safe and caring environment.
You don’t have to cover everything in one conversation, and can come back to conversations later if needed.
Remember that change is possible, and it starts with you
Be proud of yourself for taking this important step to talk about child sexual abuse and help to create a positive change towards the lives of children and young people.