There is no easy answer, but to break the trauma bond a victim needs to have alternative healthy relationships available and be isolated from the abusers for a significant period of time. This allows the child time to heal and come to terms with the trauma they experienced, re-shaping the nature of future relationships. Observing this situation, particularly as a parent, can be heart-breaking, but the consistent presence of the parent and carer means that the child is not solely dependent on the abuser (which is what the abuser wants) and has a place of safety to flee to.
If you are worried a child is in a possible abusive relationship or is at risk of child sexual exploitation, see Pace’s services for parents. Also sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date on new developments and research in trauma.