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How would I know?

Child sexual abuse can have a number of different effects and can result in many different behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Everyone reacts differently to sexual abuse, however sexual abuse usually does affect children so you need to look out for changes in a child’s behaviour

Possible indicators of sexual abuse may include:

  • A child talks about sexual activity with others
  • sudden reluctance to be with someone
  • sexualised behaviours or language that is inappropriate for their age
  • sleep disturbances, bed wetting
  • sudden personality change
  • irritability, anxiety
  • phobias or fears
  • manipulative behaviours, secrecy
  • depression
  • alienation or withdrawal from family or friends
  • acting like a much younger child, being clingy or tearful
  • unexplained bruises, redness, rashes or bleeding from the genitals, anus or mouth.
  • pain in the genital area, anus or mouth.
  • genital sores or milky fluids in the genital area

A child’s statement of sexual abuse is the most reliable indicator of abuse. Sudden changes in behaviour could be the result of other life situations such as problems at school, parents divorcing or a loved one dying. If you notice a change in a child’s behaviour make sure you talk to them about it.