After the publication of Camille Kouchner’s book The family big Denouncing the incest suffered by his twin brother and the appearance of the hashtag #MeTooIncest on Twitter, many people wonder how to detect a child victim of incest and how to help him.
Muriel Salmona, psychiatrist specializing in the subject, and Patrick Loiseleur, vice-president of the association Face à inceste, described to AlloDocteurs.fr certain signs that may worry, the keys to addressing the issue with a child, as well as the remedies available in case of doubt.
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What signs should alert?
According to our specialists, a child victim of sexual violence manifests his discomfort in one way or another. “All signs of suffering can alert,” begins Muriel Salmona.
“Child victims can fall into a state where they can no longer support anything”, continues the psychiatrist. “Risky behavior, scarification, self-harm, dangerous games, sexualized behavior unsuitable for their age, can also alert people. ”Not to mention that children who are victims of incest are often victims of other violence such as harassment.
“The child can give signs of indirect discomfort”, adds Patrick Loiseleur. “Runaways, isolation, poor school results… Sometimes he comes for a consultation for a different reason. Often the child feels guilty and has self-destructive behaviors. He internalizes this violence that he suffers, ”he summarizes.
To read also: Incest: what signs can alert those around you?
How to approach the subject?
“The first screening step is to ask the question,” says Patrick Loiseleur. For Muriel Salmona, the subject is easier to broach with a child than with an adult. “We can take advantage of a film or a book that talks about violence – not necessarily sexual – to explain that someone could force the child to do something that bothers him or scares him, then ask if it is has already arrived. “
According to the psychiatrist, it is essential that the questions come from the adult. “If an adult asks a question, it is because he wants to hear an answer, it is because he wants to know. Children need to feel like adults want to know what is happening to them. If they are not asked questions, they feel that what is happening to them does not exist. You can see it right away if a child has something to say. “
If the child you are talking to cannot find the words or is too young, the psychiatrist recommends having him or her point out in a drawing or with a finger what happened. “It must be said that no one has the right to touch it and that it is necessary to speak about it immediately. The child should not feel at fault for not having defended himself. It should be noted that the adult knows very well that it is totally prohibited. The child knows what a mean adult is, just like ogres in fairy tales. “
To read also: Incest: ” A child is never consenting ”
What aids are available?
What happens next depends on the situation: according to Muriel Salmona, in case of doubts, you should contact 119. On the other hand, if the child has revealed something to you, do not hesitate to write down his remarks so that you can transmit them precisely. and contact the public prosecutor.
Subsequently, the child may be received in a medico-judicial unit (UMJ) in a hospital. “In a UMJ, the child does not speak with words, he shows on a drawing where he has been touched”, explains Patrick Loiseleur.
Even years after the fact, “the victims of violence during childhood can be supported at 100%, under the Long Term Affection (ALD)”, specifies the vice-president. ALD designates a chronic illness of a serious nature, which can be covered 100% by the Health Insurance.