The Problem

Our society seems profoundly powerless to prevent child sexual abuse.

We’re up against a world-wide public health crisis that by its own nature is largely immune to the customary tools we use to address it. In fact, these tools often serve to perpetuate the harm rather than support collective healing and augment prevention.
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less than 12%
of cases are reported to law enforcement

The most common response to disclosures of child sexual abuse is turning away from the systems set up to keep children safe. Let's ask ourselves why.

The government institutions that are in place to provide safety for children can sometimes do so but at significant cost to the fabric of a family system. The forced removal of a family member can be a damaging and traumatic event for the child who was harmed. While a child’s safety deserves nothing less than the expediency and assurance that the criminal justice system is set up to provide, it is also telling that less than 12% of disclosed cases are referred to law enforcement. Victims and their families are in need of a more holistic response and a different kind of support.

Rather than returning to the family “healed”, victims report feeling more isolated, harmed by the uninformed reactions of family members, and unable to reintegrate into a family system where the narrative has remained unchanged.  

Healing is often approached as a solo endeavor, increasing the experience of isolation and shame.

It is often left up to the victim to figure out what they need separately from the family system. Their support is relegated to professionals beyond the family system, as if the only one impacted was the victim. When we disregard the role of the family in the healing and repair process, we perpetuate the experience of harm. Already fragile family dynamics can be further fractured by the victim taking on their healing journey alone.

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Founded on a different way of thinking, we begin with three insights:


When a child or young person is harmed sexually, whether by someone inside or outside the family system, each family member is negatively impacted.


Each adult family member must do their own individual work to understand their role in the safety, healing and accountability of the family system.


We heal when we understand the profound interconnectedness we have to one another. We all play an important role in the healing, repair and prevention of sexual harm.

Hidden Water provides an alternative response to dealing with the aftermath of child sexual abuse.