Children are not always with their parents. They play outside, attend school, go to their friends’ homes, play sports, and participate in organizational activities at church or in the Boy Scouts. Although parents can watch their children play outside and be there to pick their children up after school or from other events—parents cannot be with their children every minute of the day. This means is that parents aren’t always able to protect their children from harm. For this reason, it is critical that parents know about the sexual abuse signs that could indicate that their child is in danger.
When children are abused, they often do not report the abuse—even to their parents. Whether they have been sworn to secrecy, threatened, or are just embarrassed, children rarely come right out and tell their parents that they have been a victim of sexual abuse in Florida. Sometimes it takes a child abuse victim several weeks, months, or years to admit the abuse.
Although it would be much easier if children would tell their parents what happened so parents can protect them, it doesn’t always work this way. This is why it is critical that parents know what signs to look for.
Signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Florida
Parents should watch for the following signs, including:
- Indirect Messages – Has your child said things like, “I don’t like him anymore,” or “I don’t want to go to the Boy Scouts anymore”? While your child may just be speaking his or her mind, there could be more behind these statements. Sometimes, these indirect messages could be hints that someone is bullying, physically harming, or sexually abusing your child.
- Sexual Behavior – When children are victims of sexual abuse in Florida, they may start acting out sexual behavior or using sexual language beyond their years.
- Physical Indicators – If a child complains of an upset stomach, cries, or has major anxiety before going to a certain place, it could be an indication that your child is being harmed. Additionally, if your child has reoccurring genital or anal irritation, it could be a physical sign of sexual abuse.
Other signs of sexual abuse could include unhappiness, depression, sleep disturbances, nightmares, loss of appetite, regression, or self-destructive behaviors. If your child has demonstrated several of these signs, take the opportunity to discuss his or her behavior. If you are unsure of how to bring the topic up, you may want to seek professional guidance from a counselor who has experience in these types of situations. Additionally, there is a parent tool kit available from LaurensKids.org that helps parents have these types of conversations with their children.
If you have determined that your child has been sexually abused by another child or adult, please contact the Mallard Law Firm. An experienced and caring Sarasota child abuse lawyer will answer your questions and speak with you in a free initial consultation. Call 888-409-3805 and request a copy of our free book, When the Unthinkable Happens: Your Guide to Florida Child Abuse Claims.