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What signs should I look for if I suspect my daughter is being sexually abused at school?

 

A:

There are many signs of sexual abuse, depending on the age of your child.

Things you may notice in a child between the ages of two and nine include:

  • Sleep disturbances or nightmares
  • Fear of particular places or activities
  • Fear of specific people
  • Bedwetting or regressive behaviors
  • Anxiety and excessive crying
  • Loss of interest in school
  • Poor school performance or sudden drop off in performance
  • Physical complaints like stomachache before going to school
  • Depression
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Eating disturbances
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

For adolescent children, some additional signs that sexual abuse is occurring include:

  • Suicide attempts
  • Running away from home
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Early pregnancy
  • Substance abuse
  • Aggression
  • Anger

If your child begins thumb-sucking or bed-wetting long after he or she has grown out of that stage, or if your child starts having nightmares, these behaviors may be indicators that abuse is occurring. Additionally, if your child has always loved school and is now fearful of going to school or being around certain adults or students, you should talk with your child to find out why. Children need to know that they can speak openly to their parents and that they will be believed.

If your child does admit to being sexually abused at school in Florida, reassure your child that it was not his or her fault and get your child the necessary help. You should report your suspicions to the local child protective services agency and contact a Sarasota child abuse lawyer. An attorney can make sure your child gets appropriate counseling. Call the Mallard Law Firm at 888-409-3805 for a free consultation. You can also download a copy of our free book, When the Unthinkable Happens: Your Guide to Florida Child Abuse Claims.