Do They Have To Report The Person If I Tell

Published: July 06, 2012
Dear Do They Have To Report The Person If I Tell,

I just turned 20 and have been seeing a counselor and taking an antidepressant for a year. During my initial evaluation by my doctor and counselor I denied ever having been abused. The truth is that I was lying. I don't think I can feel better completely or have the medication and therapy work the best without working through those experiences. I don't know how to tell either of them though. Mostly I'm reluctant to tell because I don't want them to report it (to the police or anyone else). I honestly don't know if the person who abused me is even still alive, but I never, ever want my parents to find out because they really liked him. I guess my question is how do I bring this up with my doctor or counselor (both of whom I trust a lot) and do they have to report the person if I do tell them?

Dear Do They Have To Report The Person If I Tell,

TeenHealthFX is glad that you have gotten to the point where you feel safe sharing your past history of abuse. It is not unusual for abuse victims to be in therapy for awhile before they feel comfortable or have the trust to talk about something so painful. You are right, dealing with the trauma is necessary as you continue on the road to healing.

Since you are 20 years old it is not mandatory for either your counselor or doctor to report the abuse. If you were a minor they would have a legal obligation to report the abuse to your parents and in some cases the authorities. If the abuse happened when you were a minor the counselor or doctor are still not mandated to report the abuse. Since you are considered an adult there is no one who has a legal responsibility for your welfare such as a parent or legal guardian.

Once you have disclosed that you have been abused it is up to you how you want to proceed. As you work through the issue with your therapist you may change your thoughts about letting your parent’s know but for now you need to do what makes you feel most at ease and safe.