My stepdaughter was sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend. She told her mother many times over the 3-4 years it was happening, but was called a liar and often punished. Eventually, her mother told a relative, who called the police and CPS. While my stepdaughter was with us for the summer, her mother went on the run with the boyfriend, bringing their young child with, who had since disclosed his own abuse. She sent emails to family saying that she still didn't believe her child.

She eventually returned when the boyfriend kicked her out so he wouldn't get caught. We had already gotten temporary custody and we're working on making it permanent. 

Recently, the mother made up accusations against me and got what she was looking for, temporary custody of my stepdaughter back. We've proven all of these allegations false and have professional reports backing us up. 

What I am now looking for is scientific articles about how childhood neglect &  abuse affects children, especially those who report sexual abuse and aren't believed. My stepdaughter hasn't been in counseling since moving with her mother, and we've seen all the progress we've made with her disappear. She's is the same scared, fragile little girl she was before she was believed. She is not being respected, and we believe she is still being neglected and possibly abused. No one is checking in on her. We just want to do what is best for her. If you could help point me in the right direction, I would be very grateful.


Concerned Stepmom

Original Post

Have charges been filed against the mother's boyfriend and/or the mother?  And has CPS or the local Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) conducted a forensic interview with your step-daughter yet?  I am not sure how it works where you live (or where the abuse took place), but in my area (Dallas/Fort Worth), when an outcry of sexual abuse is made and reported to CPS, the child is typically videotaped at the CAC in a forensic interview.  And the CAC has all kinds of therapeutic services that are offered to the child.  I would also make a report to CPS based on your current concerns - given that there is a history of abuse/neglect, you might have a better chance of getting them involved again.  

Hi there,

This is not meant to be legal advice because I'm not a lawyer but I wanted to share my personal experience with something similar to this in family court. I've seen firsthand that the general information you're seeking will not be as impactful (or may even be considered "irrelevant" in court) as the specific impact on your stepdaughter. I presume that she is involved in counseling. Getting a letter from the counselor stating that in his/her professional opinion ________ (the information you can obtain from these great resources above) results in his/her professional opinion that your stepdaughter should be in the custody of you and your husband. I've lived through this nightmare as far as judges understanding the impact of domestic violence on children and they don't get it, so if you can get information personalized to your stepdaughter it'll give you the best chances. Secondly, I'm not sure what state you live in so I don't know if this applies but requesting a guardian ad litem for your stepdaughter is also really important.

I'm so sorry that you all have to endure this. I know that pain and it is hell. I hope that the judge does what he/she should do and protect your stepdaughter!

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