What Counselors Can Do

The following tips are aimed at counselors working with children.

Believe: Believe a victim of mother-daughter sexual abuse as you would any child.

Don’t assume: When a child discloses sexual abuse try to not assume the perpetrator or the abusive acts, and avoid gender-specific pronouns until you are referring to a specific perpetrator 

Be aware

  • Consider that mothers can be possible perpetrators
  • convey to the child that you know that a perpetrator can be male or female
  • Don’t miss red flags in the child or mother because the mother seems “normal,” caring, involved

 Be kind: These girls are often craving positive adult attention. Being a kind, safe, attentive, caring presence may encourage a disclosure when she’s ready.

Ask questions: What is bed time like? What is bath time like? Who takes care of you when you’re sad? When you’re sick? Sometimes even people in our family like mommy and daddy touch us in ways that make us  uncomfortable.

Educate yourself: Be willing to learn. This form of abuse has unique dynamics and consequences for the victim.  

Educate colleagues:  Other professionals may not take your concerns seriously or believe that a mother could abuse her daughter sexually. Continue to advocate for the child and don’t be afraid to educate others!


Educate parents: The danger of repeating the cycle of abuse needs to be emphasized in parenting classes. Parents need to come to terms with their own scarring. They should also learn about the warning signs of sexual abuse.

Educate children: Educational programs should go beyond “stranger danger” and include acknowledgement that abusers can be male or female

* artwork on this page created by Kristen, MDSA Member