Warning signs of sexual abuse in preschool-age kids

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Day Cares, Preschools & Child Care

Child sexual abuse remains a pertinent issue in the United States. The devastating effects of this abuse stay with survivors for a long time, changing how they view themselves and everyone around them.

Every nine minutes, authorities respond to a report of sexual abuse involving young kids. These crimes have a dangerous impact on the development of a child.

If you are a concerned parent, learning the indicators of sexual abuse can be the first step to protecting your child against this form of maltreatment.

What are the indicators of sexual abuse in young kids?

If your child presents symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), they may be sexually abused. Unexplained bleeding or trauma to the genital area or blood on the sheets or clothing may also be indicators of abuse.

This form of abuse can also change how a child behaves. Suddenly becoming secretive or not talking less frequently can be indicators, as well as the reoccurrence of behaviors they have grown out of. Examples of these behaviors include bedwetting or thumb-sucking.

They may also become more reclusive, spending an unusual amount of time alone and avoiding the people they used to be comfortable with. Some may even avoid removing their clothes when bathing or even refuse to change their clothes.

Children who experience abuse may also change their eating habits. Other emotional changes to look out for include reduced confidence, increased aggression and intensified fearfulness or anxiety.

How to help stop sexual abuse

Recognizing the signs can be the first step to helping stop child sexual abuse. Constantly communicating with your child is also crucial because it may make it easier for you to spot anything out of the ordinary.

If you decide to talk to your child about this issue, remember to create a nonthreatening environment where they will feel like they can open up to you.