Any child can experience sexual abuse, any age or gender. If it happens to them, it isn’t their fault, they are not to blame.
Not all children who have been sexually abused will have symptoms, but the following is a list which may help you spot the signs or ask further questions to reassure yourself. Many adults find it difficult to believe it is happening or that the abuser could be responsible. This is a common reaction on discovering sexual abuse. It does happen and children do get sexually abused. The following list is not meant to diagnose sexual abuse, but alert you to the possibility of that it may be the source of the problem, and happening to a child you know.
Signs and symptoms, include
The long term effects of abuse and neglect can include:
Children who are sexually abused experience a range of short and long term symptoms. Research often focuses on physical signs and symptoms but it’s often the emotional and psychological effects that cause more harm in the long term. Children may need help to recover from sexual abuse. In York there is an NSPCC service that helps children who have been sexually abused. Their carers also get help as part of the service.
Find out more about the effects of child sexual abuse on the NSPCC’s website.
Children and young people can also develop harmful sexual behaviour. They will have usually experienced abuse and neglect themselves in some form . They can be helped and having such behaviour doesn’t mean they will grow into an adult sex abuser. Find out more about the behaviour and how children can be helped here