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  1. Know2Protect
  2. Survivor Support

Survivor Support

Online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) is extremely traumatic for victims. It’s also traumatic for families, friends and others who care about young victims of this heinous crime.

If you or someone you know is experiencing — or has experienced — online CSEA, please remember: It is never the victim’s fault.

The following sections give you tips on helping victims, including how to talk to young survivors and resources available when you need them.

  • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

    If you or someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call or text 988 to connect with someone on the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. 

If you or someone you care about is being sexually exploited or abused online right now, follow these steps:

  • Call 911 if they’re in immediate danger.
  • Ask the victim to stop communicating and sharing images with the offender.
  • Help the victim block all the offender’s social media and chat accounts. Remember, online predators often have multiple fake accounts. Ensure the victim doesn’t respond to requests from any unknown accounts.
  • Save text messages, photos, screenshots and the offender’s account information. Law enforcement officials can use the information to help stop the abuse and prevent the predator from victimizing other children and teens.
  • Explain that no matter what the offender says, the child or teen can’t engage with them again for their own safety.
  • Remember that the child may feel embarrassed or ashamed, so reassure them that it’s okay to talk with a trusted adult, such as a parent, counselor, teacher, coach or friend.
  • Reassure the victim that you want to support them through the process.

If you know someone who has experienced online CSEA, you can provide crucial support. One of the most important things you can do is let the child or teen know that what happened is not their fault — even if they feel like it is.

When you engage with a minor victim or survivor of online CSEA:


  • Take immediate action if you see any signs or symptoms of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
  • Thank them for trusting you with their very personal experience.
  • Be empathetic. Your initial reaction may be anger, but remove any shame, blame or judgment.
  • Focus on the priorities: The victim’s safety, stopping the abuse, reporting the incident and maintaining open lines of communication.
  • Validate that you believe them and want to help.
  • Assure them they are not in trouble with law enforcement.
  • Walk them through the importance of reporting the exploitation and saving all conversations, chats, messages, photos and videos between them and the offender.
  • Let them know that reporting the incident is the best way to stop the abuse.
  • Offer to be there to support them when they tell their parent or trusted adult, or when they meet with law enforcement about the incident.
  • Identify a variety of safe people with whom they can talk to about the situation, such as a parent, counselor, teacher, coach or friend.


  • Engage with the offender. Leave that to law enforcement while you focus on the victim’s needs.
  • Ask for a detailed disclosure or specifics about the exploitation or abuse. Leave that to law enforcement officials and other professionals.
  • Respond with anger or become overly emotional.
  • Shame, blame or judge the child for what happened.
  • Use scare tactics that may make the child regret coming forward.

Resources for Trusted Adults and Families

Helping a victim or survivor of online CSEA can be tough. We understand that families and loved ones also need support. The following resources can help.

  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

    For information on available services and support for victims and family members, contact NCMEC.

  • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

    If you are thinking about suicide or need emotional support, contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by phone or text at 988 or call 911 — help is always available.​

  • Take It Down

    Take It Down is a free service that can help you remove or stop the online sharing of nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit images or videos taken of you.

Survivor Support Resources

For more resources for trusted adults and families, visit our Resources for Survivors page.

Report an Incident

To report an incident, you can call the Know2Protect Tipline at 1-833-591-KNOW (5669) or visit the NCMEC CyberTipline at https://report.cybertip.org.

Last Updated: 04/17/2024
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