Protecting, supporting & investing in adult survivors of child sex abuse in the workplace – why is this important?

Behavioural change is a key part of an individual’s development and growth. In professional environments many employees cover their true emotions for fear of being exposed, questioning their ability as an employee and jeopardising their job by showing their vulnerability. Something that needs addressing in all corporate worlds.

By understanding how we can bring more knowledge to our lives to face taboo conversations, we can grow, we can introduce realities, that many are facing. Many corporate environments then flourish with better-informed employees and supported.

Recognising survivors of child sexual abuse in the workplace is not currently an HR consideration, but I strongly feel that it should be, especially when you consider that adult brains don’t fully develop until late teens early 20’s. Anyone sexually abused as a child can often be faced with various degrees of mental health difficulties, as they enter the workforce – a time when young professionals should be flourishing.

Many young people face a delayed response to this type of trauma and can often find this happening in the younger years of their life with most not fully understanding the impact of PTSD. If corporate environments were to offer better support for this conversation in the workplace, by signposting anyone struggling in silence, it would lead to better-functioning employees; a supported employee is a loyal employee.

Of course, not every survivor of child sexual abuse in the workplace is young and flourishing. Some mature/ more senior employees my possibly be drowning because of what happened to them as children, covering their traumatic story, not performing to their fullest. This means this conversation becomes ever more crucial in encouraging better performance – by being better considered.

By introducing a positive space for the conversation of child sexual abuse to flourish, we not only help to remove stigmas but we also begin to normalise this uncomfortable conversation, for everyone: survivors and allies! By engaging in these conversations in the workplace, many employees will feel better supported and potentially encouraged to find professional help.

Many businesses can also find that by engaging with these conversations they expand their marketing opportunities, helping them better connect with customers, by growing their social presence and creating important networking connections. In this era of social media, a company’s reputation as an ethical business is hugely beneficial, especially among young consumers. It also sends a clear message to your employees and internal stakeholders about your principles and priorities. By supporting the conversation you are spreading the word about your values and intentions, and don’t we all want to make the world a better place for our children?

Many survivors of child sex abuse cover their true emotions out of fear, shame and embarrassment. Some may be in counselling, often many aren’t, and that is typically because they can’t face the realities of their past. This unacceptance could potentially hold some employees back.

Sharing the realities of child sex abuse will begin to shift awkward conversations, allowing growth, better performance and professional opportunities.
Because, after all, a supported employee, is a loyal employee….

By Emma Jane Taylor