There are several signs of child sexual abuse you can be on the watch for if you suspect your son or daughter may be the victim of abuse. These signs can manifest physically, verbally, mentally or even emotionally.
According to a Child Maltreatment study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2011, there were more than 61,000 cases of reported sexual abuse of a child in the United States; 633 of those occurred in South Carolina. If you suspect your child may be the victim of sexual abuse, secure his or her safety first. You may also consider contacting a child injury lawyer in Columbia to learn about your legal rights.
Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
As a parent, there are a number of potential signs with which you should familiarize yourself. While many are physical, others pertain to the behavior and attitude of your child.
Some potential signs of child sexual abuse include:
- complaints of pain in the private areas or mouth;
- refusal to change clothes in front of you or others;
- significant efforts to avoid a specific person or location;
- an interest in sexuality or knowledge of sexual acts that isn’t appropriate for his or her age;
- acting depressed, distracted or withdrawn;
- becoming aggressive or easily agitated;
- sleeping problems or nightmares;
- genital bleeding or discoloration;
- bed wetting at an inappropriate age;
- a change in eating habits;
- sudden mood swings and fear;
- drawing sexual acts or images; or
- talking about an older friend or a friend with whom he or she shares a secret.
If you recognize any of these signs of child sexual abuse, it’s important to immediately ensure your child is safe. This may include removing him or her from the daycare - or any other environment where you believe the abuse is taking place.
If you suspect abuse, speak to your son or daughter right away. A physical evaluation by a doctor might be necessary as well.
If your suspicions of abuse are warranted, contact the South Carolina Department of Social Services. They will assign a caseworker to your child and help investigate the claim. Additionally, you may choose to contact a lawyer to begin filing a claim to recover damages from a responsible party.
Getting Help from a Child Injury Lawyer in Columbia SC
In these cases, children may require treatment not only for physical injuries, but for psychological ones as well. Damages may also include mental anguish, and could even include lost wages if you must miss days of work to stay home with the child to provide care.
Contact the Law Office of Kenneth E. Berger at 803-790-2800 to speak to a child injury lawyer in Columbia. We are committed to answering your questions, working to ensure justice, and guiding your family through this difficult time.