Child Sexual Abuse Warning Signs
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento sexual abuse lawyer. Keeping kids safe from sexual predators has become far more difficult in recent years. News headlines constantly remind us that many professionals whom we trust to work with our children may still break all societal boundaries and try to molest or sexually assault them.
Background Checks – Being Proactive
Responsible parents and guardians should regularly check with their schools to be sure all teachers, coaches, bus drivers, substitute teachers, afterschool activity assistants, cafeteria workers, and others are routinely undergoing criminal background checks. It’s not enough to just make such inquiries when first hiring employees. You must carefully screen everyone you’re hiring – or allowing — to spend time alone with your child.
Since kids aren’t always able or willing to tell you if they’ve been molested, you must be able to recognize signs of possible abuse.
Common Behaviors or Indicators That Children Have Been Sexually Abused
While it can be “normal” for young people to briefly appear sad or depressed while growing up, major mood changes for long periods of time must be taken seriously. Here are some other signs that may mean your child is currently struggling with sex abuse issues.
- Sudden changes in eating patterns. Although some young children and teens may simply claim they no longer like certain foods you often prepare, they may be eating less due to a major clinical depression. Whenever possible, try to offer equally healthy foods that they will eat. Don’t just assume that the child is just “testing” you or being difficult;
- Unusual bruising or new complaints of body pains. While young girls often find it hard to get used to their menstrual periods, it may be best to ask them in private if something unusual is going on. There’s always the chance that a classmate or an adult is pressuring them to have sex. Let them know that you’re not judging them – but would like to know if anyone is abusing them. If you see body bruises – or “cut marks” on their arms – or other body parts – be aware that kids often harm themselves when trying to distract themselves from other sources of pain. Schedule an appointment with a private therapist right away. Most communities have sliding-scale counseling centers that charge fees based on your income/ability to pay;
- A depression that isn’t going away – or extreme moodiness. While many children are very sensitive to family problems and general issues at school – you must always take their depressed moods seriously. Be sure to take any talk about suicide very seriously – most kids don’t bring this up to be manipulative;
- School grades are dropping and the child has quit most extracurricular activities. When kids are hurting, they often try to withdraw. They become afraid that they can’t hide what’s happening from anyone. They may also start drinking or using drugs to “escape;”
- You see signs of a possible sexually transmitted disease. In private, ask your child if new body discharges is in underwear – or a new body rash — may indicate that a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is present. Try not to be condemning – instead, make it clear that you want to help your child.
Always remember that any major changes in behavior can mean a child is being sexually abused. Remind your children that you want life to be happy and pleasant for them and that you are always available to discuss anything that may be deeply troubling them.
Related Articles by Sexual Molestation Lawyer – Ed Smith
- Sexually molested in Foster Care
- Preschool Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Assault by Clergy
- Youth Sports Leagues Sexual Abuse
Sacramento Sexual Molestation Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Sexual Molestation Lawyer. If you, or your loved one has been molested or suffered a sexual assualt, please give me a call for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400. Your call will be handled with compassion and confidentiality. When calling long distance, I can be reached at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
I’m a member in the Million Dollar Forum. This is a group of US trial lawyers who have won settlements and verdicts in in cases worth more than $1 Million Dollars.
Some of my past settlements and verdicts can be read here.
Image Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt/Hill Air Force Base, Utah, United States (Free A Child’s Cry for Peace Creative Commons) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Child Sexual Abuse Warning Signs ~