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Child Abuse & Neglect Frequently Asked Question #1

Published: September 16, 2012
Child Abuse & Neglect


I am an adult survivor of child abuse.  Where can I find help with emotional, mental health, or legal issues?


There are mental health and support services available for adult survivors of child abuse and neglect from many organizations. Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, provides a related organizations listing of national organizations that provide assistance to survivors at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?subjID=41&rat....  In addition, Information Gateway also provides links to State Mental Health Resources at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=24&rate....    

If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, rape, or incest, you may want to contact the following organizations that provide mental health and/or counseling services. Although the Children’s Bureau does not endorse these organizations or guarantee the content of their websites, we provide these resources for information sharing purposes. The following selected organizations offer assistance in locating professional services nationwide:

APA’s Help Center can help you to locate a psychologist at http://locator.apa.org/.

In addition to operating the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline, Childhelp® provides professional counseling services and referral to adult survivor groups nationwide. Childhelp® professionals are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, at its toll-free number, 1-800-4 A CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

Click on Find a Local Crisis Center or help in or near your community. Toll-Free Hotline Number: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673); callers are automatically and seamlessly transferred to a program near the caller’s location.

Find Help at: http://beta.samhsa.gov/find-help; specifically for survivors of child abuse, see http://store.samhsa.gov/facet/Issues-Conditions-Disorders/term/Child-...=.  

In addition, the following selected resource provides support, prevention, intervention, and treatment services to victims of sexual and physical abuse and their families:

Resources for Survivors at http://www.stopitnow.org/survivors

The laws related to the reporting and/or prosecuting of alleged incidents of abuse that may have taken place several years ago vary from State to State. Often these laws are covered within a State’s “statutes of limitation.” Due to the fact that there is often a delay in reporting alleged child abuse crimes, many States have extended their statutes of limitation for crimes committed against children. Some of these statutes allow prosecution until the alleged victim reaches a specific adult age. In addition, States often have separate statutes of limitation for criminal cases and civil cases. The following selected resources may be helpful:

  • National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA)

See Statutes of Limitation for Prosecution of Child Abuse at http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/Statute%20of%20Limitations%20for%20Prosecutio... and Statutes of Limitation for Civil Action for Offenses Against Children at http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/Statute%20of%20Limitations%20for%20Civil%20Ac...

Please be sure to check the dates of these resources. These resources are not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. For the most current statutes of limitation in your State and how they may apply to your personal situation, please consult with and/or obtain the services of an attorney who practices in the area of family law in your State. If you need assistance in locating and/or paying for an attorney, the American Bar Association (ABA) provides a lawyer referral service at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/home.html (scroll to the bottom of the page for a map of the U.S. which links to local resources) and the Consumers’ Guide to Legal Help at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm provides pro bono attorney referrals and more. In addition, the following ABA website may also be of assistance, especially to anyone needing free legal help http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/faq_freehelp..... This site provides links to: free, State legal hotlines for individuals to call and speak to a lawyer; pro bono services for special populations; “unbundled" legal services (which means that individuals can handle part of the legal work themselves to save costs); and links to legal forms.