If your child has been sexually abused the most important safety plan is one that prevents the abuser(s) from having any contact with your child. It should also prevent further abuse from all others. You can download a Family Safety Plan Activity form to help you think through situations and collect other information designed to prevent your child from being a victim of sexual abuse.

You play a key role in protecting your child, but the court can also help by granting you an injunction for protection. The injunction will permanently bar the abuser from having any contact with your child, including letters, texts, phone calls or third party contact. If the abuser violates the injunction, he or will have committed a crime and the case will be referred to criminal court.

How to Obtain an Injunction for Protection

To be eligible for a sexual assault injunction, you must report the abuse to law enforcement. Injunctions can be filed with your local Clerk of Court for no charge. Once you have completed the injunction paperwork it will be reviewed by a judge. With the judge’s approval you will immediately be issued a temporary injunction. The injunction will include a date to return to court for a full injunction hearing before the judge. Injunctions are heard in civil (not criminal) court. The defendant (accused abuser) will be served with the injunction paperwork and has the right to be at the injunction hearing.

During the hearing the judge will hear evidence from both parties. You are permitted to bring witnesses and may also retain a lawyer to represent you, although that not required. After hearing the evidence the judge can order a permanent injunction. For more information on injunctions read Injunction for Protection.

The most important safety plan is one that prevents the abuser(s) from having any contact with your child.

Prevention Tips

  • Prevent situations where your child is left in an isolated, one-on-one situation with an adult.
  • Carefully screen babysitters; occasionally leave the time of your return open or come home unexpectedly.
  • Investigate adults who are trying to develop an independent friendship with your child.
  • Teach your children about personal boundaries and safe touch/unsafe touch.
  • Encourage children to speak up if someone is touching them in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
  • Talk about Internet safety and the risk of sexual abuse that happens online.
  • Develop supportive and open communication with your children. Children are more likely to share their feelings if they know you will listen and try to understand.
  • For older children, having a cell phone may help them to contact you more easily if they are in a difficult or frightening situation.
  • Help your child create a list of trusted people to call if anyone touches them inappropriately.
  • Learn about healthy child sexuality and behavior. It may help you to distinguish typical childhood behaviors from the warning signs of possible sexual abuse.