Identifying Child Sexual Abuse: Warning signs every parent should look for

Identifying Child Sexual Abuse: Warning signs every parent should look for

Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse:

When a child is sexually abused, it is not typically by a stranger wearing an overcoat in the park. Ninety percent of children are abused by someone they know and trust.

Most of the time, a sexual predator will take their time to gain the trust of the child and their family; they may pay special attention to the child, buy the child gifts, and touch the child in seemingly appropriate ways at first.

Through this grooming process, the predator makes it increasingly difficult for a child to report abuse when it happens. To ensure the child keeps the abuse a secret, a predator will make the child feel complicit, guilty, and threatened.

For these reasons, it is important for parents and families to remain vigilant and aware of the possible warning signs of child sexual abuse.

While identifying child sexual abuse can be difficult, looking out for red flags is one of the best things we can do to protect children.

If you are suspicious of an adult who is forming a relationship with you child, you may want to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this adult pay special attention to your child?
  • Does he/she buy your child gifts?
  • Does he/she spend time alone with your child?
  • Does he/she contact your child through electronics (email, phone, texting)?
  • Is your child acting differently?
  • Is your child engaging in sexual behavior (sexual doll play, acting out sexually with other kids or adults, using sexual or inappropriate words)?
  • Is your child becoming withdrawn?
  • Does your child suddenly not want to go to a particular place (school, band practice, church group, sports league, etc.)?

While these are not sure signs that your child is being abused, they are red flags that as a parent, you should look out for.

If you notice a red flag, always err on the side of caution. If you err on the side of caution and you’re wrong, you may insult someone. But if you’re right, you could save your child from becoming a victim.

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