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​Mental Health Providers

  • Remain constantly aware that childhood sexual trauma is a leading risk factor for many psychiatric diagnoses, and that siblings and other children cause a large portion of childhood sexual trauma.

  • When speaking with clients about possible childhood sexual trauma, include the possibility of a sibling having caused that trauma–as it is one of the most likely possibilities, this is imperative as many do not include this in an assessment.

  • Be aware that clients who relate recent experiences of adult sexual violence are more likely to also have adverse sexual experiences in childhood, including those caused by a sibling.

  • Be aware that sibling sexual trauma is common and present among all socioeconomic groups and family types.

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  • Be aware that those who have a history of sibling sexual experiences may not see themselves clearly as a victim or perpetrator or label the experience as abusive, even if it has caused long-term harm

  • Be prepared with information, resources and referrals for those who report sibling sexual trauma–whether recent or in the past, whether they identify as a survivor or offender or neither, or as a parent

  • Educate staff that children who cause sexual harm do so for different reasons than adults, and that it is inappropriate to refer to children and teens as pedophiles or sex offenders, as they are unlikely to continue to be attracted to children or harm children sexually into adulthood

  • Educate staff that sexual abuse caused by a sibling or other child is just as harmful as sexual abuse by an adult, no matter the intent or age or level of understanding of the child who caused the harm

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