Learn The Facts
1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18, which means it is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused.
In more than 90% of sexual abuse cases, the child and the child’s family know and trust the abuser.
Most child victims never report their abuse.
So what can you do?
Know the Signs & Symptoms
- Itching, redness, sores in the genital area
- Abnormal Discharge
- Bleeding, bruises, etc
- Chronic stomach pain, headaches or other ailments that can’t be explained medically
- Multiple UTI’s or yeast infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Innapropriate sexual behavior/knowledge
- Change in academic performance
- Self-harm or suicidal thoughts/behavior
- Withdrawal from others or clingy behavior
- Fear or situations or people
Signs of Grooming by an Abuser
- Inappropriate jokes + discussions in front of children
- Giving of gifts, money, privileges, etc
- Excessive touching- hugging, kidding, wrestling, tickling
- Lack of respect for personal boundaries
- Seeking to be alone with child
Signs don’t always mean abuse, but signs can be a reason to take more interest in the child.
Reduce the Opportunities for Abuse
- Choose group situations and have multiple adults supervise children
- Scan the physical environment for hidden areas and correct dangers [i.e. installing windows into doors to be able to see in to rooms where children are playing]
- Make sure interactions between children and adults can be observed and interrupted
- Remember that older youth should not be in isolated, one-on-one situations with younger children
Ask for these best practices in schools and organizations that serve children:
- Background checks for all employees
- Personal + professional reference checks
- A code of conduct for all staff and volunteers
- A policy for responding to disclosures and discoveries of child abuse
- Prevention training to employees, volunteers, parents, and caregivers
For more information visit Darkness to Light.