Signs/ Impact Of Child Sexual Abuse

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Any criminal actions taken by persons against the offenders named within this site, may result in arrest and prosecution of those persons.

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Because most children cannot or do not tell about being sexually abused, it is up to adults to recognise signs of abuse.
Physical evidence of sexual abuse is rare. Therefore, we must look for behaviour signs.
Unfortunately, there is no one behaviour alone that determines if a child has been sexually abused.
There are some general behaviour changes, and some physical signs that may occur in children who have been sexually abused.

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Physical indicators of sexual abuse may include

  • Physical complaints of pain or irritation of the genital area.
  • Appearance of sexually transmitted disease(s).
  • Frequent, unexplained sore throats, yeast or urinary tract infections.
  • Nightmares, bedwetting, fear of dark, difficulty falling asleep, new fears.

Behavioural indicators of sexual abuse may include

  • Excessive masturbation in young children.
  • Inappropriate physical or verbal displays of sexual terms or acts in young children.
  • Depression, anxiety, suicidal gestures.
  • Reluctance or fear of a person or of certain places, such as showers and washrooms.
  • Clinging, anxious, irritable behaviour.
  • Regression to babyish habits, such as thumbsucking.
  • Sudden interest in genitals of others, sexual acts, and terminology.
  • Sexual Drawings
  • Acting out sexual or abusive behaviour with toys
  • Any dramatic change in behaviour; for example, a child becoming more disobedient, or withdrawing from usual activities.
  • Frequent psychosomatic complaints, such as headaches, backaches, stomach aches.
  • Withdrawal from friends, family members and/or normal activities.
  • Avoidance of undressing or wearing of extra layers of clothing.
  • Avoidance of normal physical interaction with family member such as hugs or kisses.
  • Avoidance of certain familiar adults or places.
  • Decline in school grades or participation in after school activities.
  • Excessive bathing
  • Discipline problems.
  • Delinquent acts or self-harming
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Hostility or aggression.
  • Drug or alcohol problems.

To All Parents- You can never be too vigilant when it comes to protecting your child.


Factors affecting the impact of child sexual abuse:

  • Age of victim - the older the victim, the more likely they are to experience serious consequences.
  • Gender of paedophile - children victimised by males are more likely to experience serious reactions.
  • Use of physical force - if physical force is used on the child, the after effects may be more severe.
  • Frequency of abuse - the more often the sexual abuse occurs, the greater the likelihood of severe after effects.
  • Duration of abuse - abuse that occurs over greater spans of time will be more likely to result in severe reactions.
  • Severity of the abuse - more serious sexual behaviour is more likely to result in serious after effects.
  • Relationship of paedophile to victim - the closer the relationship, the greater the likelihood of severe reactions.

There has been very little written about treatment beyond the initial crisis intervention stage. There has been no research validating one treatment approach over another. Sexual abuse prevention involves teaching children concepts and skills believed to be useful in preventing or escaping their own sexual victimisation.

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