It’s not always easy to spot sexual abuse because perpetrators often take steps to hide their actions. Some signs are easier to spot than others. For instance, some warning signs might be noticed by a caretaker or parent, and are often red flags that the child needs medical attention.
LISTEN to your instincts. If you notice something that isn’t right or someone is making you uncomfortable—even if you can’t put your finger on why—it’s important to talk to the child.
Child sexual abuse can include sexual contact with a child, but it may also include other actions, like exposing oneself, sharing obscene images, or taking inappropriate photos or videos of a child. These crimes can have a serious impact of the life and development of a child, and can continue to impact the survivor later in life. Learning the warning signs of child sexual abuse is often the first step to protecting a child that is in danger. If you can spot sexual abuse, you can stop it.
Physical Warning Signs:
– Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
– Signs of trauma to the genital area, such as unexplained bleeding, bruising, or blood on the sheets
– Sexual behaviour that is inappropriate for the child’s age
– Bedwetting or soiling the bed, if the child has already outgrown these behaviours
– Not wanting to be left alone with certain people or being afraid to be away from primary caregivers, especially if this is a new behaviour
– Tries to avoid removing clothing to change or bathe
– Excessive talk about or knowledge of sexual topics
– Resuming behaviours that they had grown out of, such as thumbsucking
– Nightmares or fear of being alone at night
– Excessive worry or fearfulness