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  • Signs of Possible Sexual Abuse

    •    Bruising in the inner thigh or genital area
    •    Have difficulty walking or sitting
    •    Suddenly refuses to change for gym or participate in physical activities 
    •    Complaints of genital or anal itching, pain, or bleeding
    •    Frequently vomiting or sudden change in appetite
    •    Becomes pregnant at a young age
    •    Have a sexually transmitted infection
    •    Exceptionally secretive
    •    Advanced sexual knowledge, more than what is age appropriate
    •    Extreme compliance of withdrawal
    •    Overly aggressive
    •    Inordinate fear of males or females
    •    Seductive behavior
    •    Sleep problems; nightmares; bed-wetting
    •    Frequent bladder or urinary tract infections 
    •    Crying without provocation
    •    Suicidal idealization or gestures
    •    Frequently running away
    •    Cruelty to animals, especially pets
    •    Fire-setting behaviors beyond curiosity
    •    Self-mutilation; cutting, burning, scratching themselves

  • Signs of Possible Physical Abuse

    •    Extensive bruises, especially in area of the body that are not normally vulnerable (e.g., behind ears)
    •    Bruises of different colors (which may indicate various stages of healing)
    •    Frequent bruises around the head or face, the abdomen or midway between the wrist and elbow
    •    Bruises in specific shapes, such as hand prints, hangar marks, or belt buckles
    •    Marks that indicate hard blows from an object, such as an electrical cord or other whip-like objects that makes a burn around the body
    •    Bruises on multiple parts of the body (which may indicate blows from different directions)
    •    Unexplained internal bleeding that might be observed as discoloration under the skin or blood filled lumps
    •    Extreme sensitivity to pain or complaints of soreness and stiffness or awkward movements as if caused by pain
    •    Adult-sized, human bite marks
    •    Burns, especially those that appear to be from objects such as cigarettes, irons, etc.
    •    Injuries for which the explanation given is inadequate.
    •    Fear of parents/caregivers/approaching adults
    •    Bullying of smaller children

  • Signs of Possible Emotional Abuse

    •    Extremes in behavior (maniacally happy or very depressed)
    •    Withdrawn
    •    Self-destructive, self-mutilating, suicide attempt(s) 
    •    Destructive behavior
    •    Delayed in physical or emotional development 
    •    Cruelty to others, including animals
    •    Rocking, thumb-sucking that is developmentally inappropriate, or head-banging
    •    Enuresis; wetting or soiling one’s self at an age that is developmentally inappropriate
    •    Substance abuse
    •    Physical manifestations, such as frequent stomachaches or headaches or unexplained weight gain or loss

  • Signs of Possible Neglect

    •    Seem inadequately  dressed for the weather (e.g., shorts and sandals in freezing temperatures)
    •    Appear excessively listless and tired (due to no routine or structure around bedtime)
    •    Report caring for younger siblings (when they themselves are underage or are developmentally not ready to do so)
    •    Demonstrate poor hygiene or smell of urine or feces
    •    Seem unusually small or thin or have a distended stomach (indicative of malnutrition)
    •    Have unattended medical or dental problems, such as infected sores or badly decayed/abscessed teeth
    •    Frequently absent from school 
    •    Crave unusual amounts of attention, even in eliciting negative responses in order to obtain it
     

  • Signs of Possible Trafficking

    •    Disconnected from family, friends, community organizations
    •    Sudden or dramatic change in behavior, including increased virtual behavior (e.g., online activity/profiles)
    •    Child appears frightened, resistant, or belligerent to law enforcement
    •    Disoriented (may not know what city he/she is in)
    •    Difficulty focusing, persistent fear, nervous/paranoid depression and/or anxiety
    •    Evidence of being controlled (rarely alone, cannot speak for themselves, unable to freely leave)
    •    Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture (bruises, scars, untreated illness, malnourished)
    •    Expressed fear to leave employer/Excessive work hours and paid very little
    •    Not in possession of personal identification, personal money or and/or personal items
    •    Child lies about his or her age and identity
    •    Tattoos that appear possessive (bar codes)
    •    May be in possession of excessive amounts of cash, hotel key cards, and multiple cell phones
    •    School age but not in school during school hours
     

 The Facts 

  • 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet.
  • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
  • An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today.
  • Even within the walls of their own homes, children are at risk for sexual abuse. 30-40% of victims are abused by a family member. Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
  • Approximately 40% are abused by older or larger children whom they know. Therefore, only 10% are abused by strangers.
  • Sexual abuse can occur at all ages, probably younger than you think. The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old.
  • More than 20% of children are sexually abused before the age of 8.
  • Nearly 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under 12.
  • Over 30% of victims never disclose the experience to ANYONE. Most children don't tell even if they have been asked. Young victims may not recognize their victimization as sexual abuse.
  • Almost 80% initially deny abuse or are tentative in disclosing. Of those who do disclose, approximately 75% disclose accidentally. Additionally, of those who do disclose, more than 20% eventually recant even though the abuse occurred.
  • Fabricated sexual abuse reports constitute only 1% to 4% of all reported cases. Of these reports, 75% are falsely reported by adults and 25% are reported by children. Children only fabricate ½% of the time.

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