Signs of Child Molestation

It is estimated that as many as 90% of all child sexual abuse cases involve someone the child knows.  That means that acquaintances such as teachers, camp counselors, clergy members, scout leaders, pediatricians, neighbors and other adults entrusted with the care of children are often the perpetrators of the abuse.

The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.  The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination.

Behavior Changes Seen in a Child:

  • Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
  • Seems distracted or distant at odd times
  • Has a sudden change in eating habits (refuses to eat, loss of appetite, increase of appetite, trouble swallowing)
  • Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal
  • Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
  • Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images
  • Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
  • Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
  • Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason
  • Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad
  • Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge
  • An older child behaving like a younger child (such as bed wetting or thumb sucking)
  • Has new words for private body parts
  • Resists removing clothes at appropriate times (bath, bed, toileting, diapering)
  • Asks other children to behave sexually or play sexual games
  • Mimics adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animal
  • Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Other signs, usually in adolescents may include:

  • Self-injury such as cutting or burning
  • Inadequate personal hygiene
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Running away from home
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide attempts
  • Fear of intimacy or closeness
  • Compulsive eating or dieting

Usually physical signs of sexual molestation are rare. These signs may include:

  • Pain, discoloration, or bleeding in genitals, anus or mouth
  • Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Pregnancy
  • Venereal disease
  • Sudden onset of bed wetting
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty swallowing

Signs of Neglect

Consider the possibility of neglect when the child:

  • Is frequently absent from school
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses
  • Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor
  • Lack sufficient clothing for the weather
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs
  • States that there is no one at home to provide care

Consider the possibility of neglect when the parent or other adult caregiver:

  • Appears to be indifferent to the child
  • Seems apathetic or depressed
  • Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner
  • Is abusing alcohol or other drugs

These are all signs of child molestation.  Never take any of these symptoms lightly.  Every child reacts in different ways.  Take each sign seriously and report any of the signs mentioned above to a local doctor and authorities.  No child should suffer any more than they already have.  A child is to be protected and to feel safe and wanted.  No one deserves to be abused and treated wrongly.  No abuse should go unnoticed.

If you suspect your child has been the victim of sexual molestation at school, church, or camp, contact the experienced and compassionate attorneys at The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander today to discuss your legal options.  Our aggressive child molestation attorneys will do everything in our power to hold child molesters accountable to the fullest extent of the law.  Contact us today at 312-425-9100.