WHAT IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR WITH A MINOR UNDER 14 OR IF YOUR CHILD IS THE VICTIM OF SEXUAL MISBEHAVIOR

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Most parents will want to immediately rush their minor to a therapist for counseling.

Yes, your minor definitely needs professional counseling–but wrong first move. The therapist must make a referral to the local Child Welfare Services of any reported child abuse. The police are also automatically informed of the report.

We recommend you immediately consult with an experienced juvenile or criminal attorney in your area who has experience with these kinds of cases. Why? The attorney does not have to report the allegation to Child Welfare Services or to the police. There are approved, experienced therapists in your local area that the juvenile probation services and the juvenile courts use for therapy in these kinds of cases. You want your minor seen by one of these experienced therapists. The attorney can consult and refer the family for therapy, psychological evaluations, and other services that will give the minor the best chance to present well to the authorities when the matter is referred to Child Welfare Services. You want, if possible, to avoid your child being arrested and placed in juvenile custody. If they are engaged in approved therapy programs, placed away from having contact with their victim/s, and doing well in school and the community, the courts are more likely to permit them to remain out of custody while their court proceedings take place. Child Welfare Services will generally not remove the minor from the home if there are no younger minors at risk of molest.

We do not recommend you avoid getting therapy for your minor who has abused someone or your minor who may have been a victim. It is our experience this can backfire later in life when the consequences for both the abuser and the victim can be far worse than if handled properly at the beginning of the case. For example, your son was 15 years old when he molested a younger child. It was not reported to Child Welfare Services or to the police until the victim, who is now 18 years old and in therapy, discloses it to their therapist. Your son who is now over 18 will be prosecuted as an adult. The sentence as an adult will be far worse than that as a juvenile. They will be facing lifelong sex registration requirements. If handled as a juvenile, they most probably would avoid a sex registration requirement. If your minor was a victim and if therapy is delayed, they will have many issues in early adulthood that can lead to lifelong problems.

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