Reproduced with permission from http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/child-sexual-abuse.aspx. Copyright (c) 2014 by the American Psychological Association. No further reproduction or distribution is permitted without written permission from the American Psychological Association.
Make sure that you know your child's friends and their families. If you feel uneasy about leaving your child with someone, don't do it.
Ask for help- There are a number of organizations focused on providing assistance to families dealing with child abuse
There is no "one size fits all" treatment for sexual abuse. Therapists may take a range of approaches to treatment depending on the individual characteristics of the child and the length of treatment.
Recovery is possible- children can be very resilient and with a combination of effective treatment and support from parents/caregivers, they do recover from abuse.
For more information on treatment of child sexual abuse, please visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (http://www.nctsn.org/)
Not all sexually abused children exhibit symptoms (some estimate up to 40% of children are asymptomatic) however others experience serious and long-standing consequences.
Child sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm, including mental health problems that extend into adulthood.
Sexual abuse can affect psychological, emotional, physical, and social domains of the child's life, including risk for:
Behavioral problems can include:
Take it very seriously when a child reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver.
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:
Prior history of victimization
--some research found that children living with only one biological parent at twice the risk of sexual victimization.
--children living without both biological parents were at three times the risk of sexual victimization
Parental characteristics associated with increased risk
How prevalent is child sexual abuse?
Other governmental research has estimated that approximately 300,000 children are abused every year in the United States.
However, accurate statistics on the prevalence of sexual abuse of children and adolescents are difficult to collect because it is vastly underreported and there are differing definitions of what constitutes sexual abuse.
Boys (and later, men) tend not to report their victimization, which may affect statistics. Some men even feel societal pressure to be proud of early sexual activity regardless of whether it was unwanted.
Boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside the family.
Most mental health and child protection professionals agree that child sexual abuse is not uncommon and is a serious problem in the United States.
We at Peaceful Hearts want you to always know that you are not alone. In the case of an emergency, call 911.
National Child Abuse Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1.800.273.8255 www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
For Parents, Teachers, and Other Caregivers
Child sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. A central characteristic of any abuse is domination of the child by the perpetrator through deception, force, or coercion into sexual activity. Children, due to their age, cannot give meaningful consent to sexual activity.
Child sexual abuse includes touching and non touching behaviors:
Most children are abused by someone they know and trust. An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family, friends, babysitters, childcare providers, neighbors. About 30% of perpetrators are family members, e.g., fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins. Just 10% of perpetrators are strangers to the child. In most cases, the perpetrator is male regardless of whether the victim is a boy or girl. Some perpetrators are female-- it is estimated that women are the abusers in about 14% of cases reported among boys and 6% of cases reported among girls. Child pornographers and other abusers who are strangers may make contact with children via the Internet. Not all perpetrators are adults- an estimated 23% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18.
Other common characteristics of perpetrators include:
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