Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a horrific crime that unfortunately still happens around the world. What is worse is sexual abuse is not always noticed by family and loved ones, or worse, goes unreported.

This form of abuse involves sexual contact with a child; however, there are other forms of sexual abuse that include exposing a child to obscene images, inappropriate photos or videos, or exposing oneself to a child. This is a crime that seriously harms a child’s life, affects their social and physical development, as well as their mental state. As the child ages, the impact of the abuse continues well into adulthood, causing them indefinite psychological trauma. 

It’s important to be able to identify the warning signs of child sexual abuse in order to protect them. If you identify the warning signs, you can end it! If you know of a child is suffering, or an adult committing these crimes, you can get help to take legal action now from which has experienced trial attorneys ready to help. Do not be afraid to seek advice as it’s not always easy to spot signs of abuse in a child.

The following is what to look out for and what legal action to take: 

Physical warning signs

  • signs of trauma to the genital area or any signs of infection, as it may be a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Any bleeding, especially if you cannot confirm the source of the bleeding.
  • Any bruises or blood on their clothes and sheets.

It’s important to always make your child feel safe enough to discuss anything with you.

Behavioral warning signs

  • The child conducting any sort of sexual behavior that is highly inappropriate for their age.
  • The child starts or engages in topics of a sexual nature; has unexpected knowledge of sexual topics
  • You find the child wetting or soiling the bed when they have already outgrown such behavior.
  • You find the child wants to avoid removing clothes or taking a bath; she does not feel comfortable in the nude.

The child reverts back to behaviors they had already outgrown, such as thumb sucking and other behaviors that tend to represent the need for comfort or security. 

Emotional warning signs

  • The child begins to worry excessively and displays an unusual amount of fear.
  • The child begins to have recurring nightmares and fears being alone at night.
  • Suddenly fears being alone with a certain adult; fears being away from their primary caregiver.

Signs an adult is abusive toward a child

  • Be cautious of an adult displaying the following behavior below:
  • An adult who does not respect boundaries you have put in place, especially a disregard towards the word “No.”
  • An adult who engages in any touching of a child the parent or caregiver has deemed inappropriate
  • An adult who tries to act as a child’s friend, rather than an authority figure for the child to look up to.
  • An adult who seems to rarely have an age-appropriate relationship.
  • An adult who finds opportunities, or excuses to be alone with children.
  • An adult who constantly brings child gifts under no occasion.

An adult who takes notice sparks up the conversation of a child’s sexual development, and sexualizes normal behavior. 

How to take action

When you have identified sexual abuse of a child it is imperative that you take action. As challenging as it may be, it is vital to step in whenever you suspect something. You must pay attention to a child’s discomfort with a specific human being, and if they have difficulty communicating this, seek professional help.

While you may have the best interests of the child in mind, it is highly recommended that you take legal action in such cases. Laws vary when it comes to reporting abuse, so it’s important to find out how. You can seek guidance from law enforcement, your trusted lawyers, child protective services, or the Department of Family and Child Services.

These crimes are committed far too often and could endanger a child’s mental state indefinitely. Learn to identify the signs mentioned above and pay attention to the child’s physical and emotional behaviors. It’s important to create an open dialogue with the child regularly, and let them know they can come to you with any thoughts or fears. 

Whether you are the primary caregiver or not, don’t be afraid to step in and take legal action when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse. At their young age, children often need adults to be their advocates as they cannot properly advocate for themselves.