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How Can You Tell: Signs and Symptoms

Short of cuts and bruises on a child’s body, it is not always evident whether a child is being abused. It becomes that much harder to identify if a child is being sexually abused.

There are often tell-tale signs that you can pick up that could be indicators to sexual abuse. Children who are sexually abused may:

Stay away from certain individuals

  • They may avoid being left alone with certain family members or friends

  • They may show signs of fear, anxiety and reluctance to spend any time with the perpetrator

Exhibit inappropriate sexual behaviour/knowledge for their age

  • Becoming sexually active at an early age

  • Promiscuous behaviour

  • Use of sexual language and knowing information unsuitable for their age

Physical symptoms

  • Anal or vaginal soreness

  • An unusual discharge

  • STI’s or pregnancy

Unusual behaviour

  • Emotionally: withdrawn, clingy, anxious, depressed, suicidal thoughts

  • Engaging in risky and/or obsessive behaviour

  • Sleeping problems, nightmares, wetting the bed

  • Substance abuse, eating disorders and self-harm

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