A secondary survivor is someone who knows someone close to them whom experienced sexual violence. This could be your child, sibling, spouse, significant other, parent, coworker, or friend, was sexually assaulted, you have been affected, too.

As a secondary victim of a sexual assault, it is important to know how to be supportive and also how to take care of your own feelings.  Whatever feelings you have are justifiable-you have a right to your feelings.  Know that it’s okay for you to need help.  You have been traumatized by what has happened to your loved one.  Getting help will enable you to be strong for your loved one and for yourself.  Below you will find attachments with suggestions of how to be supportive to your loved one.

Remember, Central MN Sexual Assault Center provides free services to secondary victims as well as the victim themselves!  All of our services available to primary survivors are also available to secondary survivors. In addition, CMSAC offers a support group specific to secondary survivors, the Concerned Person’s Support Group. For more information, call 320-251-4357 or visit our services tab here.

Attachments (to save individual files Right click on View and Save as.)

  • Common Feelings of Victims Who Have Been S.A. View
  • Communicating with the Victim View
  • Healing Processes in Recovering from Sexual Violence View
  • How You Can Help – Adult View
  • Survivor’s Reaction View
  • Suicide Warning Signs View

For Significant Others/Partners:

  • Significant Others Support View

For Friends of the Victim:

  • A How You Can Help – Do’s and Don’ts View

For Family of the Victim:

  • A Note to Those Close to Survivors of Sexual Violence View
  • What To Say To Others View

Anyone who loves or cares for a child can be affected by the victimization of that child.  As a secondary victim, you are not doubt filled with frustrating and confusing emotions, and you are not alone.  You are not at fault.  The child you love is hurting.  Secondary survivors of sexually abused children often report feeling guilt, and shame, believing they failed to protect their child.  But, remember, you did not hurt the child, the offender did.  Often times, secondary victims in child sexual abuse cases are parents or grandparents–people who the child must depend on.  You need to address your feelings, so you can be strong for yourself and for the victim.  Don’t feel your emotions are secondary, you have a right to however you feel.

Remember, help is available at Central MN Sexual Assault Center by calling 320-251-4357.  See the attachments below for suggestions of how to talk to your child and other support people about what has happened.

For Parents of Adolescents:

  • How You Can Help -Child View
  • A Special Word to Fathers View

For Parents of Children 12 and Under:

  • Child Rape -Realities and Myths View
  • Do Children Lie About Sexual Abuse? View
  • Kids Bill of Rights View
  • Talking With Your Child About Sexual Abuse View
  • What To Do If You Suspect Abuse View
  • Why Did My Child Go Along With The Abuse & Grooming Tactics View