Warning Signs in Children and Adolescence of Possible Child Sexual Abuse
Children often show us rather than tell us when they are upset. There may be reasons that their behavior is changing. If notice a combination of warning signs it may be time to get some help.
What to look for in children:
- Acting out in an inappropriate way with toys or objects.
- Sleeping problems, nightmares
- Being clingy or withdrawn
- Becoming secretive
- Sudden unexplained changes in their personality (mood swings, and insecurity)
- Regressing (such as wetting the bed)
- Fear of particular people or certain places that can not be explained
- Changes in eating habits
- Running away
- Talk of a new or older friend
- 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.
Child sexual abuse can result in both short term and long term harm; including psychopathology in later life.
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, poor self esteem, sleep disturbance, dissociative and anxiety disorder including PTSD, Post ‘traumatic Stress Disorder. While some children may exhibit regressive behavior such as bed wetting the strongest sign of sexual abuse is sexual acting out and inappropriate knowledge of sex or interest in sex.
Depending on the age and size of the child and force used on a child, child sexual abuse may cause bleeding. In severe cases their can be damage internally to a child’s organs.
Child sexual abuse may cause infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
- The goal of treatment is not only to treat current mental health concerns, and trauma related symptoms, but also to prevent future occurrences.
- The three modalities for therapy for children and adolescents are:
- Family therapy,
- Group therapy and
- Individual therapy.
Which course is determined on a case by case basis.