SVM 10- Safety Considerations for Sexual Abuse Cases

The Role of a Supervised Visitation Monitor- Safety Considerations for Sexual Abuse Cases


Hi. Welcome to part ten of the Supervised Visitation Monitor Training, brought to you by Family & Children’s Counseling Services, Inc. You can find us online at www.HealPlayLove.org.


In this segment, we will learn about the Role and Responsibilities of the Supervised Visitation Monitor- specifically, safety precautions with sexual abuse cases.


This is a subject we may not want to think about, but the reality is, you may get a case where sexual abuse is suspected. Sometimes, when abuse has not been substantiated, or where an investigation is ongoing, supervised visitation may be ordered.

Section m of Standard 5.20 reads…


(m) Safety considerations for sexual abuse cases

In cases where there are allegations of sexual abuse, in addition to the requirements of (l), the provider should comply with the following terms and conditions, unless otherwise ordered by the court:

(1)https://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifAllow no exchanges of gifts, money, or cards;

(2)https://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifAllow no photographing, audiotaping, or videotaping of the child;

(3)https://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifAllow no physical contact with the child such as lap sitting, hair combing, stroking, hand holding, hugging, wrestling, tickling, horseplaying, changing diapers, or accompanying the child to the bathroom;

(4)https://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifAllow no whispering, passing notes, hand signals, or body signals; and

(5)https://www.courts.ca.gov/images/1pixel.gifAllow no supervised visitation in the location where the alleged sexual abuse occurred.


Let’s take a look at why these rules are so:


No exchanging of gifts can seem like a mean rule. But we have to understand the concept of grooming. Grooming is the prepping for abuse. Abusers will often buy the target gifts and lavish the target with affection in an attempt to prepare them for the next step, or the next level of abuse. 


The child you are protecting may have already been subject to grooming, and the giving of gifts may be a trigger, or it may help the Visiting Parent continue the abuse of grooming. 


With non-sexual abuse visits, the Visiting Parent will typically want to take pictures and this is allowed if the Custodial Parent has granted permission. However, in sexual abuse cases, no photography is allowed. We don’t know if this child has been previously photographed in an inappropriate manner or with vile intentions. The taking of photographs could be a trigger or further abuse.


The same holds true for the other guidelines. Touching, hugging, tickling, whispering, or secret messages can be triggering and emotionally damaging to a child. Our job is to protect them, not expose them to more harm. Any time there is an allegation of sexual abuse, follow these strict guidelines regarding visitation.  It is not our job to figure out if the abuse happened or not. Our job is to keep the child safe.


Before moving on to our next segment, your homework assignment is to answer these questions:

1)     What reactions come up for you when we talk about sexual abuse?

2)     Do you think you have the ability to remain neutral in sexual abuse cases?

3)     What will you do if you take on an abuse case and find yourself being angry or emotional?


Thank you for watching. I’ll see you again at the next video, The Role of the Supervised Visitation Monitor- Legal Responsibilities and Obligations of a Provider


Family & Children’s Counseling Services, Inc. is a California LMFT Corporation owned and directed by Melinda Haynes, MA, LMFT 102308. 


You can find FCCS online at www.HealPlayLove.org.


You can find Melinda’s therapy channel, Can We Talk?, at https://www.youtube.com/canwetalk

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