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Super secrets: What happens after disclosing abuse

Sexual abuse is frightening and confusing. It impacts many aspects of your life. You must remember: it is not your fault, it is not who you are, and you can get through it.

There are people and agencies that will help and protect you. The most important first step, now that you are ready to talk, is to speak with someone directly.

Please call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 to speak in confidence. You don't have to give your name until you are ready, but you can have a conversation with a counsellor who will help you figure out your next steps.

You can also contact your local Children's Aid Society (CAS).

Speaking about past or present sexual abuse will be challenging and may bring up many feelings. It takes a lot of courage to speak up — it takes energy! You might feel sad or depressed, have difficulty focusing or experience nightmares, guilt or shame. Anxiety is also common if you are wondering what will happen after your disclosure. Read on for more info on what happens next.

What Happens When I call the CAS?

The CAS will look into the information you provide.

When you call, a protection worker and supervisor will assess the risk to you based on the information you give them. They will decide how to best to protect you, and provide supportive services to your family. The workers may, as part of their plan to protect you, involve the police and other community agencies.

If you indicate in your call that you are at risk of hurting yourself or if there is an injury, CAS protection workers will respond within 12 hours. In all other situations, a worker will contact you — visiting your home or school — within 7 days.

CAS workers will want to speak with you. In most situations interviews occur with the consent of the parent. In very serious matters, the CAS may interview without your parents' consent or knowledge. All client information is confidential.

A parent or a child may contact the CAS directly at any time. A relative, friend, teacher, nurse, doctor or other professional must call the CAS if they are concerned for the safety and well-being of a child or youth. Many of these professions have a legal duty to contact CAS to ensure that youth and children are safe.

Stay Strong and Stay Connected

We know you are going through a rough time. We also know that you have amazing inner resources: resiliency, strength, and the ability to speak up for yourself and access help to get through this. Stay in touch with people and agencies who support you. Stay connected.