5 signs of daycare sexual abuse

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | Day Cares, Preschools & Child Care, Other Sexual Abuse

Daycare should be a safe place for your children. However, many children face sexual abuse from daycare staff. There’s nothing more devastating as a parent than finding out your child is being taken advantage of by a trusted adult. If you suspect daycare staff is harming your child in this way, knowing the warning signs can help you investigate the situation, take appropriate action and remove your child from an unsafe environment.

Don’t underestimate these major red flags

There can be many nuances between sexual and physical abuse. However, if you notice any of the following in your child’s looks and behavior, these can be major red flags of daycare sexual abuse:

  • They have pain/bruises in their genital area: Small bruises or pain near and around their genitals that can be an extreme cause for concern. Scrapes and bruises can happen from rough play or other activities. However, they shouldn’t show up in their genital area. Additionally, someone from your child’s daycare staff should know about the bruises and notify you about them when you come to pick up your child. If they don’t tell you, or, you ask questions about the bruises and they seem aloof or act like nothing happened, this may warrant further investigations.
  • Genital pain makes body movement painful: Many young children love running around. However, if you notice your child can barely walk, sit or play without experiencing pain around their private parts, you may want to check for genital or anal bruises. If you discover pain or bruises in this area, that’s a cause for concern.
  • They know too much about sex for their age: It’s normal for your young children to make mild sexual jokes, like talking about their genitals. However, if your child’s knowledge of sex and sexual acts is too graphic for their age, you may want to watch these behaviors closely. If they’re facing sexual abuse at daycare, they may know about explicit sexual acts in two ways. Either an adult engages them in these acts, or the abuser makes them watch pornographic content on a Chromebook or iPad as part of grooming them.
  • They develop a strange relationship with clothing: Kids facing abuse can develop an abnormal relationship with clothing. For example, a child may refuse to take off their jacket after getting home from daycare – even when it’s hot outside, or wear multiple pairs of underwear. They may also refuse to take a bath, put on their pajamas or participate in activities where they must take off their clothes. If you find this to be a consistent theme with your child after they come home from daycare, you may want to look into what’s causing this behavior.
  • They worry about being at daycare or with staff: Many young children feel uncomfortable around adults that aren’t their parents. However, if your child wasn’t afraid of going to daycare, but now they have a panic attack when they get there. Or, they worry about being alone with daycare staff. This should be a significant cause for concern.

Knowing the signs can help parents act

Discovering that your child is facing sexual abuse can be difficult, especially when the abuser is a trusted figure like a daycare worker. However, when you can spot the signs, you can act quickly to remove your child from the situation and seek damages against those responsible for harming your child.