What To Do If You Suspect Your Child Is Being Sexually Abused or Harmed
As parents and caregivers, we do whatever it takes to protect our children – especially from the nightmare of sexual abuse and assault. When you suspect that you child is a victim of sexual abuse or assault, you will do whatever it takes to help him or her. However, as much as we may want to help our injured young ones, we may also not be sure what to do or how to respond to the situation.
Sexual abuse and assault of children often goes undetected. Regardless of what your caregiving role may be – mother, father, grandparent, or aunt and uncle – you have the power to make a positive difference in your child’s life.
Below are three tips you should consider if you believe your child is subject to child abuse.
- Recognizing the Signs of Sexual Abuse
The signs of sexual abuse are not always clear. As a parent or guardian, it is important that you learn the warning signs of child sexual abuse. Some common warning signs include:
- Behavioral signs: These signs include shying away from or seeming threatened by physical contact, regressive behavior like wetting the bed, changing hygiene routines such as refusing to take showers, or engaging age-inappropriate sexual behaviors, nightmares.
- Verbal signs: These signs include using words that are “too adult” for the child’s age, suddenly becoming less verbal, or becoming alarming silence.
- Physical signs: These signs include bruising and swelling around the genital area, blood on undergarments, or physical scars.
- Communicating With Your Child
If you suspect that your child is a victim of sexual abuse or assault, you need to keep the lines of communication open with him or her. When initiating or engaging in conversation with your child, you should:
- Initiate conversation at a time and place where your child feels comfortable
- Use a tone that makes your child feel comfortable enough to open up to you
- Use words that your child understands
- Intently listen to your child’s words and his or her body language when speaking
- Never blame your child or come across as judging him or her
- Be extra patient with your child
- Reporting The Sexual Abuse
As soon as your child admits that he or she has been sexually abused or assaulted, it is important that you immediately report it. This is not an easy task, and can be emotionally draining. However, as your child’s guardian, you need to take this important step to get your child the help he or she needs. Reporting the sexual abuse can also prevent the abuse from happening to another innocent child and hold the abuser liable for his or her actions.
Holding the Right Parties Liable
In child sexual abuse cases, the person who did the abusing may not always be the only party you can hold liable. Child sexual abuse often involves people other than the abuser – especially when the abuse happens at the hands of a school employee.
When you drop off your child at school, you trust the school and it’s employees to keep your child safe. When this promise and trust is broken and a school employee or another student attending the school abuses or assaults your child, the school may also be responsible for their acts.
If you suspect that your child or a loved one has been abused or molested, it is important to immediately contact an attorney to protect the legal rights of your loved one.
At the Law Offices of Vahdat & Associate, our Los Angeles sexual abuse attorneys can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Our experienced legal team will provide you with a comfortable atmosphere that will promote an honest exchange of information. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our compassionate attorneys, please call us at (888) 523-1698.