The Signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Though it is a crime that is often prosecuted by law enforcement and punished harshly by criminal courts, child sexual abuse can also be the basis for a civil lawsuit. A victim may seek compensation from all those who were involved, whether directly through perpetrating the action, or indirectly through acts of negligence.

Children do not always come right out and say that they are being abused, but they will often exhibit physical or emotional changes that can be cause for concern. According to Darkness to Light, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing the sexual abuse of children, this type of abuse is the most prevalent health problem that children face with the most serious array of consequences. Recognizing the signs that a child may have suffered abuse will allow you to seek action against the abusers immediately.

Warning Signs of Abuse

There are many signs that children may display that could indicate that they have been the victim of sexual abuse. Each child will react differently to sexual abuse, so there is no one warning sign that will immediately show that they have been abused. However, if your child has exhibited any of the following symptoms, it is important to investigate and figure out why.

Physical Signs
  • Stomachaches.
  • Pain, bleeding, or bruising in the genital area.
  • Underwear stained with blood or other discharge.
  • Unexplained bruises or bleeding on other parts of the body.
  • Problems walking or sitting.
Emotional Signs
  • Nightmares.
  • Fear of being left alone.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Frequent crying or tantrums.
  • Increased irritability or aggression.
Behavioral Signs
  • Change in eating habits, such as overeating or not eating enough.
  • Acting distracted or distant at times.
  • Sudden mood swings.
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • Fear of intimacy or closeness.

It is important to note that any one of these signs can point to other issues. Not all of these symptoms and behaviors are solely due to sexual abuse, which is why it is important that you have a conversation with your child to determine what the root of the matter could be.

Is Your Child Exhibiting any of These Warning Signs?

If you have noticed that your child is displaying worrying behaviors that could point to sexual abuse, you should first talk to your child to see if they will share with you what happened. Then, you should contact law enforcement to press criminal charges against the perpetrator. Note that 93 percent of child sexual assault victims know their abusers, so you should be sure to take immediate steps to protect your child’s safety. Cerri, Boskovich & Allard is dedicated to holding sexual abusers accountable for their actions by pursuing civil suits against them. Call our office at (408) 289-1417 to schedule a free consultation.

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