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  • Disclosure of child sexual abuse is a process. It is estimated that only one in ten child victims disclose abuse.

  • One in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18.

  • Perpetrators often consist of family members, friends, and acquaintances. 95% of all victims know their perpetrators.

  • There are a large percentage of children who do not disclose abuse until adulthood, if ever at all.

  • Some consequences of child sexual abuse include fear, loneliness, self-blame, poor self-esteem, anger, and mental health issues


Q: What is sexual abuse?

A: Sexual abuse occurs when someone forces, coerces, or tricks a child into sexual contact or acts intended for the sexual gratification of that person. Sexual abuse may involve:

  • Touching the child’s private parts or making the child touch the offender
  • Oral/genital contact
  • Vaginal or anal penetration with a penis, finger or object
  • Coerced sexual acts between children
  • Making children view or participate in pornography
  • Indecent exposure or "flashing"

Q: What are identifying symptoms of sexual abuse?

A: Physical and behavioral indicators of a victim of a sexual abuse/assault are listed below. Please realize these are only indicators and are not necessarily evidence of abuse.

Physical Indicators:

  • Difficulty in walking, sitting, coordination
  • Genital or anal injury (swollen, bleeding)
  • Urinating or defecating in clothing (inability to control)
  • Venereal disease
  • Genital pain and itching
  • Change in neatness of appearance
  • Gaining weight (wearing loose fitting clothes so as not to draw attention to the body)
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Loss of appetite or sudden increase in appetite (and other more serious eating disorders such as anorexia)
  • Altered sleep patterns (bedwetting, restlessness, nightmares, fear of sleeping alone, needing a night light, being tired all the time)
  • Newly acquired bodily complaints, especially stomach aches
  • Odor (is not taking care of personal hygiene)

Behavioral and Attitude Indicators:

  • Extreme shifts of emotions/moods
  • Fears and phobias especially aimed at one person or location
  • Suddenly turning against someone, such as a parent
  • Restlessness
  • Acting adult-like, inconsistent with age
  • Acting child-like, regression
  • Frequent absences from school
  • Daydreaming, having learning problems
  • Irritability, short tempered
  • Asking questions or having knowledge of terminology, inappropriate for age
  • Expression affection to adults in inappropriate ways
  • Not willing to undress for PE at school
  • Hostility and aggressiveness towards adults or overly trying to please adults
  • Afraid to be alone with adults
  • Isolation, withdrawal
  • Few friends
  • Shying away from being touched
  • Having low self esteem and self image
  • Excessive curiosity about sexual matters
  • Precocious sexual play
  • Verbal descriptions of sexual matters