5 Tell-tale Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children
Sexual abuse in children is a major concern that can truly haunt parents. With children spending time in the care or supervision of others, opportunity abounds for sexual predators to inflict harm. From youth organizations and sports leagues to religious organizations and schools, the sexual abuse of children tragically happens at the hands of a trusted adult. People who sexually abuse children can be found in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, youth sports leagues, and any other place children gather.
According to the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, the child knows the perpetrator personally and the perpetrator has permission to be around the child on a regular basis in more than 90 percent of sexual abuse cases. As a result, many children never tell anyone about the abuse. Due to this alarming fact, parents, friends, and other loved ones may not know when a child has been or is being abused. The following five signs have been linked to sexual abuse victims and should not be ignored if a child exhibits any or all signs.
Sign 1. Extreme Changes in Behavior
Victims of sexual abuse tend to behave noticeably different after the abuse starts. For example, a child that is usually even-tempered, well-mannered, and social can become disruptive, demanding, and even violent after experiencing abuse.
Sign 2. Unwarranted Embarrassment
Children who are sexual abuse victims typically exhibit feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, and general unease for what may appear to be no reason. Some children may experience these feelings when in proximity to the location of the abuse, such as where the abuser lives.
Sign 3. Sudden Fascination with Sexual Activity
Perhaps the most unexpected sign of sexual abuse is when victims either begin to engage in sexual activity, become interested in sexual behavior, or attempt to recreate the sexual abuse. Younger sexual abuse victims more commonly exhibit this sign due to the natural tendency of younger children to mimic actions they have observed or experienced. While any sign of sexual abuse a child exhibits should not be ignored, this indicator may be the most serious one.
Sign 4. Loss of Confidence
Victims of sexual abuse may lose their self-confidence. As a result, children experiencing sexual abuse may withdraw from their normal social activities, such as sports, school, or hobbies. Additionally, a child may begin to wear oversized or long-sleeved clothing as an attempt to disguise their body. Sexual abuse victims may also experience depression, which must be treated appropriately to avoid the development of chronic depression.
Sign 5. Excessive Fear
Fear is perhaps the most common symptom of sexual abuse and may display in a variety of ways. Victims of sexual abuse may begin to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, which can cause serious sleep disturbances, such as night terrors and insomnia. Children who experience sexual abuse may also be abnormally startled by seemingly normal, nonsexual contact, such as being hugged or a pat on the back.
Next Steps If Your Child Shows Signs of Sexual Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse manifest their trauma in many different manners. These five indicators are the most noticeable and common in child victims of sexual abuse. If you suspect that your child or a child you care for is a victim of sexual abuse and you notice any of these signs in the child, report the suspected sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities immediately. In addition to any potential criminal action, victims of sexual abuse may pursue a civil lawsuit to seek the justice deserved.
Seek Legal Advice from an Experienced Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney
If your child shows signs of sexual abuse, it is important to seek legal advice and guidance from an experienced sexual abuse attorney. At Vinkler Law, our experienced sexual abuse attorneys help victims and their families move forward by seeking compensation for damages caused by the perpetrator. To learn more about legal options available to you and your child, contact us today for a free consultation.