Step 4 to preventing child abuse: Recognize the Signs
Jun 04, 2020 at 02:08 pm by Child Advocacy Center
"The signs that a child is being sexually abused are not always obvious," explained Child Advocacy Center Community Education Coordinator Brittnie Noble. "It is important that parents, grandparents, and professionals learn how to recognize the signs when they see them."
The Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention training provides the framework to help parents and grandparents protect children from child sexual abuse. Step 4 of the Darkness to Light’s 5 Steps is to "Recognize the Signs." Knowing the signs can help parents protect their children from harm.
Everywhere you see children in our community—schools, day cares, churches, sports teams, and summer programs-- there are children who are silently bearing the burden of child sexual abuse alone. We must recognize the signs of child sexual abuse so that we can help children.
Physical signs of sexual abuse include redness, bruising, swelling, or rashes in genital areas. If you notice these physical signs the child needs to be checked immediately by a medical provider.
Typically, the child sexual abuse signs are associated with emotional and behavioral issues such as:
Physical issues associated with anxiety, such as chronic headaches or stomach aches
Overly compliant behavior or behavior that is "too perfect"
Behavioral problems, such as physical aggression, non-compliance, and rebellion
Anxiety, depression, fear, withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts
Nightmares, bed-wetting, bullying, and cruelty to animals
Lack of interest in friends, sports, and other activities
Sexual behavior and language that is not age-appropriate.
"Also parents need to be aware that in some children there are no signs whatsoever," continued Noble.
"Trauma is often the root of behavior problems in children. When children are angry or lash out their parents may label them as a bad child or label their behavior as bad. Angry children are usually angry for a reason. It is important that parents and grandparents gently ask the right questions and try to understand what happened that made the child so angry. Asking questions gives the child the opportunity to tell you if someone is harming them," encouraged Bilingual Family Services Coordinator Anahi Castillo.
The Child Advocacy Center works as a multidisciplinary team with Department of Children’s Services, law enforcement, and the District Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute child abuse cases and help children and their families heal from the trauma.
The Child Advocacy Center is providing free Darkness to Light online training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rutherford and Cannon County parents, grandparents, and professionals can view the training online at no charge until June 30, 2020. To learn more about the training contact the Child Advocacy Center in Rutherford County at 615-867-9000 or in Cannon County at 615-563-9915.