This page outlines general indicators of a child who has been sexually abused, a teen who has been sexually abused, another adult has been sexually abused, and someone who may sexually abuse a child. The occurrence of one indicator does not necessarily mean a person has experienced sexual abuse. Additionally, indicators of sexual abuse can vary widely from person to person.
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Children, particularly younger children, may take part in inappropriate interactions without understanding how it might be hurtful to others. For this reason, it may be more helpful to talk about a child’s sexually “harmful” behavior rather than sexually “abusive” behavior.
This guide is for everyone involved in bringing up children. It explains that some children do sexually abuse other children, describes how we can recognize the warning signs, and outlines some actions we adults can take to prevent sexual abuse.