Signs of Possible Child Sexual Abuse


Some of the possible indicators can be described as symptoms, behaviors or medical conditions.


The following are some common issues displayed by victims of sexual abuse:

physical complaints

sleep disturbances; nightmares'


hostility or aggression

dramatic change in behavior or development of new behaviors

change in eating habits

fear or dislike of particular adults or places

excessive clinging or crying

school problems

withdrawal from family, friends, or usual activities

frequent touching of private parts

sexual behavior inappropriate to the age of the child

running away

drug or alcohol problems



sexually transmitted diseases

physical symptoms involving the genital, anal, or mouth area


It is important to note that not all children suffering from the symptoms, behaviors or medical conditions stated above are victims of sexual abuse.


Common emotional responses of victims of child sexual abuse:

Fear--of the abuser; of getting into trouble or getting a loved one into trouble; that no one will believe them.

Guilt--for not being able to stop the abuse; for believing they 'consented' to the abuse; for 'telling,' if they did tell; for keeping the secret if they did not tell.

Shame--about being abused; about his or her body's reactions.

Confusion--because of changing emotions; because they may still love the abuser.

Anger--at the abuser; at other adults who failed to protect them; at himself or herself.

Sadness--at being betrayed by someone they trusted.

Isolation--because they have trouble talking about the abuse; because they feel alone.

Child Abuse

Myths and Facts

Child Sexual Abuse

Possible Signs


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