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Recognizing the Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

Law enforcement officials respond to a new case of child sexual abuse every 8 minutes. This stark reality is the worst nightmare of parents worldwide. Unfortunately, parents and guardians can’t keep a watchful eye on their children at all times. For this reason, it’s important that every parent recognizes the common signs of child sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse is commonly committed by:

  • Relatives
  • Teachers
  • Coaches
  • Priests
  • Caretakers
  • Counselors

Sexual abuse can have a detrimental impact on the life, mental stability, and development of a child. At Bernstein & Poisson, we believe that awareness is the first step in preventing future cases of child sexual assault. Our hope is that by recognizing these signs, you may be able to save a child who is suffering from sexual abuse.

The Signs

Some signs of child sexual abuse are easier to recognize than others. This is because perpetrators are very careful and meticulous about hiding the evidence of their terrible actions. In fact, child sex offenders are not above manipulating or threatening their victims into keeping their secrets. Not only does this prevent parents from protecting their children, it also makes the children feel like complicit participants in their abuse, further damaging their mental health.

However, there are some physical and behavioral red flags that may indicate that your child is being sexually abused.  It’s important that you always listen to your instincts when it comes to defending your child. If you can, talk to your child and learn the truth of their injuries or behavioral changes. If necessary, seek medical or psychiatric treatment if you believe your child needs professional assistance. Above all else, if you have even the slightest proof that someone is hurting your child, do whatever it takes to seek legal protections and safeguard your family.

Physical signs of child sexual abuse:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Genital trauma
  • Unexplainable bruises
  • Cuts or welts

Behavioral signs of child sexual abuse:

  • Fear of specific people or places  
  • Sudden knowledge of sexual topics
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Night terrors
  • Instigating sexual behaviors
  • Resuming infantile behaviors, like bedwetting or thumb sucking
  • Discomfort at changing or removing clothing 

It’s an unfortunate reality, but 93% of all child sexual assault victims know and might even have a relationship with their abuser. As a parent or guardian, it’s your responsibility to listen to your child and always respect their bodily autonomy. If your child doesn’t feel comfortable touching or hugging an adult, it’s best to never force them. Instead, learn if there is an underlying reason for this discomfort.

Be wary of adults who exhibit these behaviors with children:

  • Doesn’t respect a child’s bodily autonomy
  • Engages in unwanted touching
  • Doesn’t engage in an age-appropriate relationships
  • Makes up excuses to be alone with a child
  • Openly sexualizes children (even children in media)
  • Gives children gifts without specific reasons

Take Legal Action Today

At Bernstein & Poisson, our compassionate Las Vegas child sexual abuse attorneys can represent your case in court and effectively hold the at-fault individual responsible for their unforgivable actions. Taking legal action today can provide legal protection to your child and hopefully safeguard other children who may be targeted by this offender.

Contact Bernstein & Poisson today at (702) 602-8869 to schedule a consultation.