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Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Abuse:

Although signs and symptoms have not been established or recognized in most of our family courts, the following information includes the most prominent indicators that your child may be enduring sexual abuse. While each of these signs can occur for myriad other reasons, five or more of these behaviors raises the sexual abuse red flag. Beware of over-zealous identification; do not question your child yourself. If you suspect your child has been sexually abused, seek a reputable Forensic Psychologist to conduct an interview of the child. They are trained specifically in proper methodologies that should be observed when interviewing youth. If there are no Forensic Psychologists within your area, attempt to locate a qualified counselor and established attorney unfaltering in their dedication to a child's welfare. Let the professionals who are mandated reporters make the "Suspected Child Abuse Report."

UNEXPLAINED PERSONALITY AND BEHAVIORAL CHANGES:

Younger Children

If your child has been a happy, well adjusted child and suddenly becomes:

  • Introverted
  • Displays regressive behavior such as thumb sucking, wetting and soiling after being potty trained
  • Cries incessantly
  • Experiences night terrors
  • Throws temper tantrums for no apparent reason
  • Is afraid of, refuses to use the bathroom, or is withholding bowel movements
  • Shows fear in sleeping in child's own bedroom
  • Is suddenly very clingy or does not want to be touched at all, not even a hug
  • Acts out aggressively with other children
  • Abuses little animals
  • Acts out sexually with other children, asks adults to touch their private parts, or tries to touch private parts of adults
  • Acts afraid of an adult friend or family member
  • Has age inappropriate knowledge of sexual acts
  • Spreads feces on walls, bed, etc.
  • Acts lethargic
  • Acts secretive with unexplained acquisition of toys or other gifts
  • Tells you he/she has a secret, but cannot tell it
  • Masturbates excessively
  • Acts out sexually with toys
  • Tries to insert foreign objects into the vagina or anus
  • Is afraid to go to bed or wants to sleep excessively
  • The child discloses to you that an adult has touched their private parts and/or has made the child touch the adult's private parts

Older Children: 12 and Older

While many of the signs of sexual abuse of older children overlap the foregoing, children twelve and older may display additional signs of child sexual abuse.

  • Often act very seductive around adults
  • Age inappropriate knowledge of sexual acts, including vibrators and other sexual paraphernalia
  • Masturbates excessively
  • Engages in promiscuity, alcohol and drug abuse
  • Loses interest in school and other activities, or grades drop dramatically
  • Sleeps excessively
  • Experiences night terrors and flash-backs
  • Acts aggressively and sometimes violently toward parents, other adults or classmates
  • Acquisition of money and gifts that cannot be explained
  • Abuses little animals
  • Acts very secretive; pathological lying, stealing
  • Wears seductive clothing or wants to wear many layers of clothing
  • Bathing excessively, or washes hands excessively
  • Displays of exhibitionism, or nudity
  • Seems sad or depressed, or cries for no apparent reason
  • Discloses the abuse to a best friend and demand that person keeps the secret