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Child Sexual Abuse Warning signs

October 19, 20150 Comments

What to look for in adults and children

What is considered child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse includes touching and non-touching activity. Some examples of touching activity include:

  • touching a child’s genitals or private parts for sexual pleasure
  • making a child touch someone else’s genitals, play sexual games or have sex putting objects or body parts (like fingers, tongue or penis) inside the vagina, in the mouth or in the anus of a child for sexual pleasure

Some examples of non-touching activity include:

  • showing pornography to a child
  • deliberately exposing an adult’s genitals to a child
  • photographing a child in sexual poses
  • encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts
  • inappropriately watching a child undress or use the bathroom

 

As well as the activities described above, there is also the serious and growing problem of people making and downloading sexual images of children on the Internet. To view child abuse images is to participate in the abuse of a child. Those who do so may also be abusing children they know. People who look at this material need help to prevent their behaviour from becoming even more serious.

 

Warning signs in children and adolescents of possible child sexual abuse

Children often show us rather than tell us that something is upsetting them. There may be many reasons for changes in their behaviour, but if we notice a combination of worrying signs it may be time to call for help or advice.
What to watch out for in children:

  • Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
  • Nightmares, sleeping problems
  • Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
  • Becoming unusually secretive
  • Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
  • Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting
  • Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
  • Outburst of anger
  • Changes in eating habits
  • New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
  • Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
  • Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy
  • Running away
  • Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person

Any one sign doesn’t mean that a child was or is being sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help. Keep in mind that some of these signs can emerge at other times of stress such as:

  • During a divorce
  • Death of a family member or pet
  • Problems at school or with friends
  • Other anxiety-inducing or traumatic events

Physical warning signs

Physical signs of sexual abuse are rare, however, if you see these signs, take your child to a doctor. Your doctor can help you understand what may be happening and test for sexually transmitted diseases.

 

  • Pain, discoloration, bleeding or discharges in genitals, anus or mouth
  • Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
  • Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Signs that an adult may be using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons

The signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favouring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult or young person if they:

  • Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
  • Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
  • Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
  • Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
  • Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
  • Regularly offer to baby-sit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
  • Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
  • Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
  • Treat a particular child as a favourite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
  • Pick on a particular child.

P.S. As a parent, it’s quite natural to worry over the safety of your child. But at the same time, it’s crucial to ensure that your child’s safety is guaranteed. Click here if you want a guaranteed way to protect your children from predators.

National Statistics on Child Abuse

October 19, 20150 Comments

In 2013, an estimated 1,520 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States.1

In the same year, Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country served nearly 295,000 child victims of abuse, providing victim advocacy and support
to these children and their families. In 2014, this number was over 315,000.2

2013 National Abuse Statistics 1

  • An estimated 679,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect (unique instances).
  • 47 states reported approximately 3.1 million children received preventative services from Child Protective Services agencies in the United States.
  • Children in the first year of their life had the highest rate of victimization of 23.1 per 1,000 children in the national population of the same age.
  • Of the children who experienced maltreatment or abuse, nearly 80% suffered neglect; 18% suffered physical abuse; and 9% suffered sexual abuse.
  • Just under 80% of reported child fatalities as a result of abuse and neglect were caused by one or more of the child victim’s parents.

2014 Children’s Advocacy Center Statistics Highlights 2

2014 Full Child Advocacy Center Statistics

Among the over 315,000 children served by Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country in 2014, some startling statistics include:

  • 116,940 children were ages 0 to 6 years
  • 115,959 children were ages 7 to 12 years
  • 81,025 children were ages 13 to 18 years
  • 205,438 children reported sexual abuse
  • 60,897 children reported physical abuse
  • 211,831 children participated in on-site forensic interviewing at a Children’s Advocacy Center

Among the over 244,000 alleged offenders investigated for instances of child abuse in 2014, some startling statistics include:

  • 154,529 were 18+ years old
  • 26,294 were ages 13 to 17 years
  • 20,040 were under age 13 years
  • 95,913 were a parent or step-parent of the victim
  • 127,358 were related or known to the child victim in another way
  • 23,696 were an unrelated person the victim knew

P.S. As a parent, it’s quite natural to worry over the safety of your child. But at the same time, it’s crucial to ensure that your child’s safety is guaranteed. Click here if you want a guaranteed way to protect your children from predators.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Children & Families. Child Maltreatment 2013. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2013  

National Children’s Alliance 2013 and 2014 national statistics collected from Children’s Advocacy Center members and available on the NCA website: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/cac-statistics

How To Protect Your Children – Where To Turn For Help

October 16, 20150 Comments

Childhelp USA maintains a 24-hour National Child Abuse Hotline.
800-4-A-CHILD; childhelp.org

National Children’s Alliance has nearly 700 advocacy centers nationwide and helps with the process of reporting and recovering from abuse.
800-239-9950; nationalchildrensalliance.org

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has a free, confidential, secure service that allows victims past and present to get help via its phone and online hotlines.
800-656-HOPE; rainn.org

Stop it Now! also offers a phone and an e-mail Helpline dedicated to sexual-abuse prevention. Its Ask Now! advice column features actual situations so people can seek guidance for their own concerns.
888-PREVENT; stopitnow.org

P.S. As a parent, it’s quite natural to worry over the safety of your child. But at the same time, it’s crucial to ensure that your child’s safety is guaranteed. Click here if you want a guaranteed way to protect your children from predators.

How To Protect Your Children – Preventing Abuse: An Age-By-Age Guide

October 16, 20150 Comments

Depending on your child’s developmental stage, you’ll need to focus on specific issues and address (or avoid) certain topics.

Ages 2-4
Use the right language. “Skip the euphemisms,” says Robin Sax. “Call a vagina a vagina and a penis a penis.” This decreases potential confusion and improves your child’s ability to discuss sexual situations.

Explain what’s private. Tell her that besides herself, her parents, and her doctor (and caregiver if your child’s still in diapers), no one should touch her private parts. If anyone does, she can tell you and you won’t be mad.

Give him ownership of his body. Has a stranger ever ruffled your child’s hair, telling you how cute he is? Your tendency may be to politely tolerate the behavior. But it’s a great teachable moment. Saying “I don’t feel comfortable having someone we don’t know touching my kids” models to your child that it’s okay to say “no” to touch—even from outwardly “nice” people.

Be a safe refuge. You may think this is obvious to your child, but explicitly state that she can tell you if she ever feels confused or scared about anything and that you’ll help and love her no matter what has happened.

Break the taboo around sexuality. If your 4-year-old asks where babies come from, for instance, give her a brief, honest, and age-appropriate answer. “If we tell a child she’s not old enough to know, or to not ask such questions, then we’ve given the message that this subject is off-limits,” says Robin Castle.

Ages 5-8
Reinforce boundaries. Support your child if he wants to say “No, thank you” to hugs or kisses from relatives. If your son is squirming away as Grandma leans in give him a kiss, you can say, “Vincent isn’t really in the mood for a kiss right now, and that’s okay, isn’t it, Grandma?” suggests Linda E. Johnson.

Head off guilty feelings. Don’t wait until you suspect something is wrong. “Kids need to hear that it is never their fault if someone behaves sexually with them and that they can always come to you,” says Jolie Logan, CEO of Darkness to Light. In doing so, you help take away the perpetrator’s most powerful weapons—shame and fear. Bathtime is one opportunity to talk about bodies and boundaries, says Logan (“I want you to understand that people shouldn’t touch your private parts, or ask you to touch theirs”). Or use current events: “There are grown-ups who like to do inappropriate things with children, and it’s my job as a parent to keep you safe. You can always come to me if you feel uncomfortable.”

Teach Internet safety. Many experts consider kids this age too young to be online by themselves. Use parental controls to limit her access, and explain that people are not always who they claim to be online. Insist your child never disclose personal information, and ask her to tell you if she ever feels uncomfortable about messages she receives.

Ages 9 and up
Continue the conversation. As children near adolescence, their peers could sexually threaten them. Indeed, your child’s own budding sexuality may get him into situations that offenders may readily take advantage of. Look for chances to talk about this; it can include brainstorming ways for your child to avoid or get out of uncomfortable situations with peers. Reinforce that it is never a child’s fault when someone mistreats her.

Monitor devices. Kids can easily, and often accidentally, access porn through smartphones and gaming systems such as Nintendo Wii and Sony PSP that can be connected to the Internet. “We’re seeing a record- high number of these cases in our practice,” says Dr. Julie Medlin. “Most parents have no idea that their kids can access porn so easily in this way, nor do they understand just how much of a negative impact such exposure can have on the child’s sexuality.” Consult your device’s user guide to enable parental controls and limit access to certain games with mature content and to manage Web browsing, chat features, and purchases.

Help identify trusted adults. Many children cannot bring themselves to disclose sexual abuse directly to parents, Sax says. So she encourages teaching kids to seek out adults whom they feel comfortable turning to when something is bothering them. She adds that they should continue to tell until someone acts on the issue. By law, teachers and school counselors must report suspected abuse to authorities, and in 18 states (and Puerto Rico), all adults who suspect abuse are required to report.

P.S. As a parent, it’s quite natural to worry over the safety of your child. But at the same time, it’s crucial to ensure that your child’s safety is guaranteed. Click here if you want a guaranteed way to protect your children from predators.

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