We are often asked about the warning signs of child sexual abuse. Although we can talk about “indications,” we want to be clear that a simple list is only a beginning. Any unusual or sudden change in a child needs to be investigated and may be due to many reasons. If you notice that a child you know exhibits the behaviors on the following list, you may want to call us to learn what your next steps might be.*
- Change in personality that might include depression, anxiety, guilt, anger, or regressing to young behaviors like thumb sucking and baby talk.
- Change in behavior that might include self-destructive acts, inappropriate sexual conduct, sudden outbreaks of rage or fear for no reason, nightmares, or drug or alcohol use.
- Change in physical well being that might include bed wetting, eating problems, physical injuries, or rashes in genital areas.
- Change in social behavior that might include inability to get along with friends, decreased school performance , delinquency or refusing to participate in activities they previously enjoyed.
*This information is not meant to be a substitute for a consultation with a counselor or psychotherapist.
For more information on recognizing the symptoms of child sexual abuse we suggest the following websites:
- Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse (www.stopcsa.org)
- Male Survivor: Overcoming Sexual Victimization of Boys and Men (www.malesurvivor.org)
- Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children (www.stopitnow.org)
- Public Health Resources (www.publichealth.org/resources/sexual-abuse)
- Darkness to Light (www.D2L.org)
- 1in6 – Support for Men (www.1in6.org)