Sexual abuse is any sexual molestation or sexual exploitation of a child by an older person where the child is being used for a sexual purpose. Some criminal codes like The Criminal Code of Canada, identify a number of types of sexual abuse, including sexual interference, an invitation to sexually touch, sexual exploitation of a young person, parent, guardian or caregiver procuring sexual activity from a child, household permitting sexual activity, exposing genitals to a child, and incest.

The signs and indicators of abuse and neglect may include, but are not limited to, those that follow. It is important to realize that the presence of any one indicator is not conclusive proof that a child has been abused. In most instances, abused children will exhibit a number of behavioural and physical indicators.

Physical indicators in children

  • A lot of itching or pain in the throat, genital or anal area

  • A smell or discharge from the genital area

  • Underwear that is bloody

  • Pain when:

    • trying to go to the bathroom

    • sitting down

    • walking

    • swallowing

  • Blood in urine or stool

  • Injury to the breasts or genital area:

    • redness

    • bruising

    • cuts

    • swelling

Behavioural indicators in children

  • Copying the sexual behaviour of adults

  • Knowing more about sex than expected

  • Details of sex in the child’s drawings/writing

  • Sexual actions with other children, including siblings, or adults that are inappropriate

  • Fears or refuses to go to a parent, relative, or friend for no clear reason

  • Does not trust others

  • Changes in personality that do not make sense, e.g., happy child becomes withdrawn

  • Problems or change in sleep pattern, e.g., nightmares

  • Very demanding of affection or attention, or clinging

  • Goes back to behaving like a young child, e.g., bed-wetting, thumb-sucking

  • Refuses to be undressed or, when undressing shows fear

  • Tries to hurt oneself

  • Discloses abuse

Behaviours observed in adults who abuse children

  • May be very protective of the child

  • Clings to the child for comfort

  • Is often alone with the child

  • May be jealous of the child’s relationships with others

  • Does not like the child to be with friends unless the parent is present

  • Talks about the child being “sexy”

  • Touches the child in a sexual way

  • May use drugs or alcohol to feel freer to sexually abuse

  • Allows or tries to get the child to participate in sexual behaviour

  • Uses the child to make money, e.g., child pornography

Having concerns related specifically to Abuse?

Having difficulty coping? Need some advice?

© 2017 by Sargasso Designs. 

Legal Disclaimer of all parties to this website. The provider has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. However, the information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. The parties do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality or reliability of the information contained on this website. No warranties , promises and/or representations of any kind, expressed or implied, are given to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided in this website nor to the suitability or otherwise of the information to your particular circumstances. We cannot and will not guarantee that this website is free from computer viruses or anything else that has destructive properties. We shall not be liable for any loss or damage of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential, or other) whether arising in contract, tort or otherwise, which may arise as a result of your use (or inability to use) this website, or from your use of (or failure to use) the information on this site. This website provides links to other websites owned by third parties. The content of such third party sites is not within our control, and we cannot and will not take responsibility for the information or content thereon. Links to such third party sites are not to be taken a an endorsement by the Red Flags Bermuda website affiliates of the third party site, or any products promoted, offered or sold on the third party site, nor that such sites are free from computer viruses or anything else that has destructive properties. We cannot and do not take responsibility for the accuracy of third party advertisements. The Red Flags Bermuda information and format has been adapted from information published by institutions in many other jurisdictions, i.e., Canada, Australia and others, with credit and thanks.