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


Physical 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

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Innapropriate sexual behavior/knowledge
  • Change in academic performance
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts/behavior
  • Nightmares/bedwetting
  • Withdrawal from others or clingy behavior
  • Depression
  • Fear or situations or people

Signs of Grooming by an Abuser

  • Inappropriate jokes + discussions in front of children
  • Giving of gifts, money, privileges, etc
  • Favoritism
  • Excessive touching- hugging, kidding, wrestling, tickling
  • Lack of respect for personal boundaries
  • Secret-keeping
  • 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.

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