Child abuse happens when a parent or other adult causes serious physical or emotional harm to a child. Read this article to learn more about the different types of abuse including, physical. sexual, emotional, and neglect and what to do if you suspect your child is being abused.
Keeping Kids Safe: Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse
Many of the behavioral changes that children undergo are a result of their ongoing development. However, when the change seems drastically out of character or concerning it could, though may not necessarily be, a sign of abuse.
Children who have been sexually abused may feel shame, fear, and confusion that may keep them from telling you what happened. Knowing some of the general signs of abuse can help parents identify red flags and intervene quickly to stop the abuse from continuing.
Some behaviors you might see in a child who has been sexually abused include:
- developing a new or unexplained fear of certain people or places
- drastic appetite changes
- suddenly having trouble sleeping
- becoming uncomfortable with and shying away from physical contact from others
- substantial changes in hygiene
It’s important to understand that any of the listed behaviors alone is not necessarily a sign that abuse has occurred. If you are concerned by your child’s behavior it is best to consult your pediatrician.
If your child discloses that they have been sexually abused, it is important that you remain calm. There is no way to truly prepare yourself for these circumstances, but recognizing that your child will need your reassurance during this confusing time can be the best motivator to react in a way that doesn’t further hurt or confuse your child.
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