Advice to the parents/custodians
If you suspect that your child has fallen victim to a sexual crime or to violence, you must:
- Report the crime to the police as soon as possible. In urgent situations, report the crime at the police station, not as an electronic crime report.
- The police refer the child to a doctor for thorough examinations as soon as possible after the crime. Necessary examinations are made and the child’s health condition is checked. You can also urgently take the child to a doctor.
- If the child has been taken to the doctor before reporting the crime, you should keep in mind, that doctors and other health authorities are obliged to make a child welfare notification and a crime report, if they suspect sexual abuse of the child or violence against the child.
- The police is also obliged to make a child welfare notification if needed. The task of the child welfare is to assess the child’s situation and ensure that the child is safe. The child welfare also offers help for the parents/custodians, when needed.
- You can discuss with the police at what stage of the investigation the child may receive professional help. The police who investigate the crime knows how to get help, as this can be important in the assessment of the child’s story later.
- Do not pressure the child to talk about what happened. The police and other experts will handle this.
- If the child voluntarily wants to talk about what happened, you should write down the child’s words as literally as possible and in what context it came out, and any questions you might have asked. You should absolutely avoid adding your own interpretations. If you must specify something, use neutral questions, like “What do you mean?” or “Tell me a little bit more”. Do not add new things to discussion yourself.
- Tell the child according to the age level what happens during the criminal process and how things proceed. You should also get a legal counsellor.
- Stick to everyday routines as much as possible. Do things that are important to you. Continuing the everyday life can help the recovery from the criminal experience.
- Do not talk about the situation with others in front of the child.
- Do not be horrified and bemoan the fate of the child. Ask other adults to avoid this too.
- Try to release your own anxiety when the child is not present. You should also take care of your own well-being. You can get a support person from Victim Support Finland for free for yourself and your child. You also get advice for other professional help.
- As the criminal process proceeds you can get additional information and advice from the police and the Victim Support Finland’s service point .