Do you think your child is being or has been sexually abused? How do you verify that suspicion? That is not an easy task. After all, sexual abuse is not a disease and does not have a checklist of symptoms. That said, the United States Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) lists behaviors that can be indications of possible child sexual abuse.
Signs That Warrant Concern
Here are some of the warning signs listed by NSOPW. Keep in mind that these signs can be a manifestation of many other anxiety-inducing or traumatic events, not just sexual abuse. Regardless, if your child exhibits any of these signs, you should be concerned.
• Sexualized acts with toys.
• Self-penetration with toys or fingers.
• Inappropriate touching in the private areas of adults or other children.
• Atypical rude behavior towards or fear from a particular person.
• Nightmares or other sleep problems
• Sudden change in eating habits (loss/increase in appetite)
• Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal
Signs More Typical of Teenage Children
• Self-injury (cutting, burning)
• Inadequate personal hygiene
• Drug and alcohol abuse
• Sexual promiscuity
• Running away from home
• Depression, anxiety
• Suicide attempts
• Fear of intimacy or closeness
• Compulsive eating or dieting
Physical Warning Signs
Although physical signs of sexual abuse are rare, they may warrant a bigger concern of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
• Bleeding, discoloration, infection or bruising around or in private parts or mouth.
• Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
• Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training
Keep in mind that if your child exhibits any of the above signs, it does not necessarily mean that he/she was sexually abused. However, that should not be a reason for you to not begin asking questions. These signs may not be symptomatic a sexual abuse (not directly at least), but they do point to a problem in general that you may need to explore.
Trust The Child Abuse Attorneys At Samples Ames PLLC
If your suspicions turn right, our Child Abuse Attorneys based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas can help you find justice in a child sexual abuse case. Samples Ames PLLC can make the legally responsible party compensate your child for any psychological damages that have incurred from the abuse, and a lawsuit can bring public attention to the case and thereby serve to further remove the abuser from other children in their environment. As a result, the abuser can be forced to take responsibility for their actions, and other children can be protected from future harm.