Supporting your child after molestation

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for supporting your child after he or she has been molested
Advice For Supporting Your Child After Molestation
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Supporting your child after molestation

Families often wonder, after their child has been molested or they hear that their child has been molested, "How can they best support their child?" The best thing you can do is to believe your child. Studies have shown that children who have the best outcomes, after molestation, are those that were believed. Particularly, by somebody close to them. So, their mom, their dad, their family members. So, the best advice that I can give you is "Believe your child." In addition, I know it's difficult, you're like "Okay, what do we do now that we know this? Do we need to hide it from people? Do we talk to people? What do we do?" Trying to have as much of your routine daily life, as much as possible. And, I know that's sometimes difficult. Because, you're constantly worrying about your child, But, as much as possible keep the daily routines as they are. Keep the structure of the household as they are. Move things along as you would normally. And not making "it" the primary focus of what is happening. Now, what you will find is particularly with younger children, sometimes are preschool children. their way of coping with it is just to tell people. So, you maybe out at the park or church or whatever, and suddenly your little one is talking about "Oh, Johny did such and such to me." And, it can be embarrassing. But, again, just realize in that this is part of their coping skills. And, maybe just distracting them. Starting to talk about something else. But, not punishing them for expressing what they need to express. So, again, just to remember, believe your children and support your children.

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for supporting your child after he or she has been molested


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Karen Kay Imagawa, MD

Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD: Director, Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Director, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program, Division of General Pediatrics; Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, is also the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and is a full-time attending within the Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). She received her medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is board certified in General Pediatrics, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, and Child Abuse Pediatrics.  Dr. Imagawa has made significant contributions to program development at CHLA: She is currently the Director of the Joint General Pediatrics – USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program ,expanding the program to its current position with the largest number of board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatricians (7) in a Southern California program, and was integral in establishing the ACGME accredited Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship program at CHLA . Dr. Imagawa is also one of the founders and the Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center at CHLA, a multifaceted interdisciplinary child protection center involving evaluation, treatment, prevention, education and research in the field of child maltreatment.  Dr. Imagawa is a court appointed expert (730 paneled expert in both Criminal and Dependency Court) in the field of child abuse, and was actively involved in the development of the Foster Care Hub at CHLA, one of seven designated Hubs in Los Angeles County that were initially established to provide forensic, medical, and mental health screenings for newly detained children entering the foster care system.  She previously served on the advisory group for The California Medical Training Centers formulating standardized training in child abuse, and collaborated on a task force to develop standards at the state level for mental health care for child victims of trauma. She is a medical consultant for the Inter-agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN – the official county agency which coordinates the development of services for the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect), having participated in various medical task forces establishing protocols and best practice standards for the evaluation and treatment of suspected victims of child abuse, included those with developmental disabilities. Dr. Imagawa’s strength as a clinical educator is also seen in her dedication to education and training. She has been invited to participate in numerous speaking engagements, as well as requests from the media and entertainment industry, involving a variety of topics in the fields of child abuse and/or developmental-behavioral pediatrics. 

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