The impact of CSE for parents

Suspecting or finding out that your child or children has been a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a really difficult time for the whole family. As a parent/carer you are a secondary survivor and this can be an overwhelming experience.

At Barnardo's, we understand that as a parent or carer it can be hard to stop and reflect on how you're feeling and spend some time thinking about your own wellbeing. Below is a list of some of the things you may be feeling and experiencing, and we want you to know that you are not alone.

Things that you may be feeling

  • Guilt and self-blame
  • Rage and anger
  • Shock and confusion
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Disgust and shame
  • Sadness and pain
  • Grief and loss
  • Denial
  • Isolation

You may also

  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Have a change in your eating habits and appetite
  • Feel physically unwell for example having regular headaches
  • Have regular negative thoughts
  • Feel out of control and have sudden changes in mood
  • Not want to face family and friends
  • Struggle with your relationship with your child/children
  • Feel unable to set boundaries with you child/children

All of these feelings are natural and valid responses as you are also going through trauma. Supporting a young person who has experienced something like CSE can be frightening, challenging and leave you feeling drained.

One of the most important things you can do to support your child through their recovery is to also look after yourself.

If your child or children have experienced CSE and you need support please contact the Barnardo’s Exceed Service in Devon and Cornwall.

Some of the things parents/carers have said about our service:

"Thank you for phoning, it's nice to speak about everything"

"Thank you for all your help, I feel so much better to know that she is getting some help"

"For her having someone else like you to confide her worries to and how she feels is so comforting for me"

"I really appreciate you messaging me and all you are doing. Huge thanks to you"

“Thank you for everything you are doing, it is really helping” 


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