Common signs of child sex abuse are listed below. If you recognize these signs in your child, get help from a doctor and a Tacoma sexual abuse lawyer immediately:
- Physical trauma to sensitive areas that you cannot otherwise explain
- Not talking as much or talking about sexual subjects
- Physical symptoms, such as unexplained pains
- Symptoms of mental health problems, such as trouble sleeping, anxiety, or decreased self-confidence
Recognizing Signs of Sex Abuse in Your Child
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), common signs of child sex abuse can include changes to some or all of the following:
Emotional Signs of Child Sex Abuse
Even if the child is too young to fully understand what is happening, they may sense that something is not right. This realization can manifest as alterations in their behavior. Signs of abuse can include:
- Withdrawing from others by speaking less, wanting to spend time alone, or not wanting to be left alone
- Engaging in sexual activities or behaviors or discussions about sexual behaviors that do not correspond to their age or to previous interest in the topic
- Becoming noticeably more or less obedient than they normally are
- Exhibiting “regressive behaviors,” such as infantile behaviors
- Changes to their eating or sleeping habits that you cannot otherwise explain
- A sudden decline in academic performance
Warning signs of child abuse are not always immediately obvious, so it may take time to notice them.
Physical Signs of Child Sex Abuse
Depending on the type and extent of the abuse, you might notice physical alterations in your child as well. Signs of physical abuse could include:
- Physical injuries, such as bruises or soreness
- Blood on the genitals or on their clothes, especially underwear
- Urinary tract infections
- Symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, which a doctor can diagnose for you
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Responding to Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child, it is understandable to feel angry, confused, upset, and even guilty—even though the abuse was neither your fault nor your child’s. For the sake of your child’s well-being, you will have to temporarily put aside your own feelings to deal with the issue at hand.
A Doctor Can Help With Sex Abuse Symptoms
The moment you suspect your child is being sexually abused, take them to see a pediatrician immediately. Your child’s doctor can help to address certain physical symptoms and may even be able to recommend a mental health specialist who can provide further help.
Filing a Child Sex Abuse Report
It goes without saying that you do not want your child—or any other child—to have further contact with the abuser. If you know the abuser’s identity, you can bring charges against them. If not, you can file a report with the police so they can investigate and bring that person to justice.
Sex Abuse Lawyers Can Seek Justice for Your Child
Once your child is out of immediate danger and getting the care they need, you can start to think about holding the abuser responsible for their crimes. This could include hiring an attorney with experience in sexual abuse cases who can:
- Put together a strong case file to prove the abuser’s liability
- Confront the abuser on your behalf and demand that they pay fair damages
- Determine how much money your family deserves and how to get it
Taking Care of Yourself After Child Sex Abuse
At a time like this, your first concern is naturally your child’s well-being, but do not neglect your own mental health. Finding out your child was sexually abused is one of the worst things that can happen to any parent. In order to be there for your child, you should take care of yourself by:
- Getting professional psychiatric help
- Leaning on friends and family you trust
- Seeking out other parents, either in real life or online, who have experienced similar situations
Other Things to Know About Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual assault and abuse is a very delicate and difficult subject. Your attorney can tell you more about how to handle your particular situation and how to handle topics like the following:
Different Children Respond to Abuse Differently
It is important to remember that every child is unique and, just like adults, they each respond to trauma differently. Some child sex abuse victims may exhibit a wide range of the symptoms listed above, while others may exhibit very few or none at all.
If possible, you will want to have honest conversations with your child about what has happened and what might help them move on. If your child refuses to speak of the abuse, a mental health specialist may be able to give them the tools they need to open up.
Sex Abuse Compensation Is Not Available Forever
When seeking damages for a personal injury, you should know that you have a limited time to do so. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases depends on where you live. In Washington state, it is found in RCW § 4.16.340 and can be complex. You can always talk to your lawyer for more information.
Child Sex Abuse Cases Are Highly Sensitive
You have many things to think about as you respond to this crisis. Among them is how a legal action may affect your child’s safety, privacy, and well-being. This is a very reasonable concern, and your attorney can help put your mind at ease regarding:
- How long your case may take and what challenges you might encounter along the way
- The pros and cons of taking legal action
- What they might need from you and your child throughout the case
- What they can do to protect your family from any actions the at-fault party may take, such as denying the allegations
We Fight Back Against Child Sex Abuse
When the unimaginable happens, and your child starts exhibiting the common signs of child sex abuse, get them medical attention immediately. You also have legal rights, and you deserve an attorney who will be discreet and sympathetic while fighting for your family’s rights. Call Jackman Law Firm today to find out why we are a firm you can trust.