Rolling Out

How to report incest in your family

If you are experiencing incest or suspect it’s happening to someone you know, reporting it is crucial
Photo credit: Image generated using AI technology

Incest is a severe form of sexual abuse that occurs between family members. It violates trust and can have devastating consequences for the victim. If you are experiencing incest or suspect it’s happening to someone you know, reporting it is crucial to stop the abuse and get help.

This article will guide you through the process of reporting incest in your family. It will provide resources and information to empower you to take action and protect yourself or the victim.

Understanding incest

Incest can take many forms, including sexual intercourse, oral sex, or any other type of unwanted sexual contact. It can happen between parents and children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts/uncles and nieces/nephews, or cousins.

The perpetrator often uses their position of power or trust to manipulate and coerce the victim into silence. Incest victims are frequently made to feel responsible for the abuse, making it even harder for them to speak up.

Why reporting incest matters

Reporting incest is essential for several reasons:

  • Safety: It stops the abuse from continuing and protects the victim from further harm.
  • Justice: It holds the perpetrator accountable for their actions.
  • Healing: It allows the victim to access support and begin the healing process.
  • Protecting Others: Reporting can help to identify and prevent abuse from happening to other family members.

The challenges of reporting incest

It’s important to acknowledge that reporting incest can be incredibly difficult. Victims may feel shame, fear, or confusion. They may worry about breaking up the family or facing disbelief.

Here are some of the common challenges associated with reporting incest:

  • Fear of retaliation: The perpetrator may threaten or harm the victim if they report the abuse.
  • Feeling of betrayal: Victims may feel like they are betraying their family by reporting the abuse.
  • Shame and guilt: Victims are often manipulated into believing they are responsible for the abuse.
  • Denial: It can be difficult to accept that someone you trust has abused you.
  • Fear of not being believed: Victims may worry that no one will believe their story.

Finding the strength to report

Despite these challenges, reporting incest is the bravest thing you can do. Here are some tips to help you find the strength to report:

  • Talk to someone you trust: This could be a friend, family member not involved in the abuse, a teacher, counselor, or another trusted adult. Talking about the abuse can help you feel less alone and gain support.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about incest, its effects, and your reporting options. This knowledge can empower you to take action.
  • Focus on your safety: Create a safety plan for yourself and other potential victims.
  • Remember, you are not alone: Many resources are available to help you through this difficult time.

How to report incest

There are several ways to report incest, depending on your situation and comfort level. Here are some options:

  • Law Enforcement: You can contact the police or Child Protective Services (CPS) to report the abuse.
  • A trusted adult: Tell a teacher, school counselor, doctor, therapist, or another trusted adult about the abuse. They are mandated reporters and will be required to report the abuse to the appropriate authorities.
  • A crisis hotline: Call a national hotline for support and guidance on reporting options. Here are some resources:
    • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
    • Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453

What to expect after reporting

Once you report incest, the authorities will investigate the allegations. This may involve interviewing you, the alleged perpetrator, and any witnesses. You may also be required to undergo a medical examination.

The investigation process can be stressful, but it’s important to cooperate with the authorities as much as possible.

Here’s what you can expect after reporting:

  • Investigation: The authorities will investigate the allegations to determine if there is enough evidence to press charges.
  • Court proceedings: If charges are filed, the perpetrator will go to court. Depending on the severity of the abuse, they may face jail time, fines, or counseling.
  • Support: There are many resources available to help you through the aftermath of reporting incest. This may include counseling, support groups, and legal assistance.

Finding support and healing after reporting incest

The aftermath of reporting incest can be a whirlwind of emotions. You may feel a sense of relief and validation but also anger, sadness, and confusion. These are all normal responses to a traumatic experience.

Building a support system

Surrounding yourself with supportive people is crucial during this time. Here’s how to build a strong support system:

  • Connect with a therapist: A therapist can provide a safe space for you to talk about your experience and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Join a support group: Connecting with other survivors of incest can help you feel less alone and gain valuable insights. Here are some resources to find support groups:
  • Talk to trusted friends and family: Sharing your experience with trusted friends and family members who believe and support you can be incredibly helpful.

Taking care of your emotional and physical health

Beyond building a support system, there are steps you can take to care for your overall well-being:

  • Practice self-care: Prioritize activities that make you feel good, such as spending time in nature, exercising, or pursuing hobbies.
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms: Find healthy ways to manage stress and difficult emotions. This could include yoga, meditation, journaling, or creative expression.
  • Maintain healthy relationships: Focus on nourishing relationships with supportive people who make you feel safe and loved.
  • Seek medical attention: If you’re experiencing physical symptoms related to the abuse, such as sleep problems or changes in appetite, see a doctor.

The healing journey

Healing from incest takes time and patience. There will be good days and bad days. However, there is hope. With the proper support and self-care, you can overcome this trauma and build a healthy and fulfilling life.

Here are some additional resources that can be helpful on your healing journey:

  • The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN):
  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
  • Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453

Moving forward

Reporting incest is a powerful act of self-preservation and courage. It protects you and others from further harm. While the road to healing may be extended, knowing you are not alone is essential. You can rebuild your life and find strength and resilience through support and self-care.


  • You are a survivor.
  • You are worthy of love and happiness.
  • There is help available.

This article has provided an overview of reporting incest in your family. If you or someone you know is experiencing incest, please reach out for help. The resources listed above can provide support and guidance during this difficult time.

This story was created using AI technology.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out