There are few things as terrifying as sexual abuse against children. While it’s painful to think about, it’s far more harmful to end up in a situation where you didn’t notice the abuse in time to put a stop to it.
Parents often feel a great sense of guilt when daycare abuse occurs because they are the ones selecting the care providers for their child. The truth is that while a thorough evaluation is essential when selecting where to send your child, unfortunately the risk can never be completely eliminated.
Sexual abuse of a child involves exposing a minor to anything sexual in nature, including inappropriate touching (both the adult touching the child and the child being made to touch the adult), sexual intercourse, showing the child pornographic material, exposing genitalia or masturbation. Sometimes it is difficult to identify the signs of sexual abuse, especially in very young children who cannot relay information about the situation to the parents, but there are some things to watch out for.
Common Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children
Just as is the case with adults, not all children will react the same way to every situation. That said, there are some fairly universal signs that children tend to exhibit when they are suffering from sexual abuse. Parents should always keep an eye out for the following:
- Inappropriate sexual behavior.
- A sudden interest in sex and genitalia.
- Regressive behaviors (thumb-sucking, bedwetting, fear of the dark).
- Fear of the daycare center.
- Fear of a specific individual at the daycare center.
- Avoidance of undressing or wearing extra layers of clothes.
- Child shows difficulty sitting, standing or walking.
- A sense of shame.
- Night terrors or recurring nightmares.
- Signs of abuse around the genitals and in other private areas.
- Urinary infections or sexually transmitted diseases.
The people who perpetrate abuse against children will oftentimes intimidate the children into not saying anything. The child may feel a deep sense of shame because they are being told that, somehow, what’s being done to them is their fault. They may also be told that saying anything about the abuse will result in the child getting in trouble, or being taken away from their parents. Abusers are dangerously clever about how they get children to keep their mouths shut about abuse. This is why it’s so imperative that parents look for the signs of abuse that children cannot cover up, such as those that are mentioned above.
If You Suspect Abuse
If you do suspect some type of abuse is occurring, taking your child to a physician is always a good idea. The physician can conduct an exam in order to detect any signs of sexual abuse. Obviously, they will have the expertise to determine whether or not any physical damage to the child is likely to be something that was caused by sex abuse.
Additionally, we strongly recommend contacting the police department in order to file a report. If the police believe there is enough evidence, they will pursue criminal charges. It is not up to you to determine whether or not your suspicions are valid; all that is asked of you is that you make a report.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Contacting a child abuse lawyer is something you will also want to consider if your family has suffered damages as a result of the abuse (cost of therapy, alternative child care, etc). While it is up to police whether or not criminal charges are pursued, it is up to the victim (and their family) to pursue any civil claims.
Rasansky Law Firm has considerable experience handling cases of child abuse, and we’re happy to evaluate your claim free of charge. Call us 24 hours a day at 1-877-403-9378 and let us explain your options moving forward.