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Child Sexual Abuse: How to Spot and What To Do

by lauraramos | April 1st, 2024 | Child Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, there are many types of abuse that children may be subject to at the hands of criminal actors in their lives. One distressing form of abuse which is unfortunately common is child sexual abuse.

If your child has been the victim of child sexual abuse, there are avenues for you to seek justice. Pursuing a criminal conviction against your child’s abuser is one way to fight back, but it can sometimes pose a real challenge for victims. Bringing a civil action against an abuser may be more likely to succeed.

Keep reading to learn the signs of child sexual abuse, and what you should do if you think your child is being sexually abused.

What Are the Signs of Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse includes any kind of sexual act or behavior from an adult involving a minor. This includes things like sexual assault and touching as well as other forms of abuse, such as showing sexual images or flashing. Below you can find the signs of child sexual abuse:

  • Injuries to the genital area
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Changes in behavior
  • Excessive understanding or discussion of sexual topics
  • Regressing to younger behaviors, such as thumb sucking
  • Not wanting to be without a specific caregiver
  • Not wanting to be left alone with a specific person or people

One sign alone may not be proof that your child is being sexually abused, but it can be a cause for concern. If you recognize multiple signs from the list above, it’s time to take action.

What Should I Do If I Think My Child Is Being Sexually Abused?

If you’ve noticed multiple signs of sexual abuse in your child, it’s important to try to stay calm and act carefully. We understand that this is a challenging time, to say the least, but your child needs your support now. You can follow the steps below to do what you can to protect your child and prevent further harm:

  • Be Kind — Keep your child’s feelings in mind. They may be afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed. Take care of how you speak to them.
  • Be Calm — A common tip is, “Respond, don’t react.” You may be feeling angry, but your child could mistake your reaction as anger at them.
  •  Listen — Be an active listener, but don’t interview your child. Gather as much information as you can, but allow the child to lead the discussion.
  • Establish Safety — Your child may be afraid of the threat posed by their abuser. Reassure them that they are safe and you will protect them.
  • Respect Their Feelings — Give them validation for whatever they may be feeling. Any reaction they may be feeling is valid.
  • Be Patient — Your child may not yet be ready to talk about their experience. Let them speak in their own time. Reassure them that you’re there when they’re ready to talk.
  • Not Their Fault — Your child might blame themselves for what’s happened. Remind them that they are not to blame.
  • Report the Abuse — If your child has disclosed an experience of sexual abuse to you, call the Department of Family Protective Services Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 and make a report, then call 911 and do the same. Provide as much information as you can.
  • Seek Professional Help — Child sexual abuse can be devastating for children and the whole family. Consider seeking help from a qualified therapist. There are child abuse prevention organizations that offer family counseling, such as the Child Advocacy Centers of Texas.

These steps were derived in part from a guide by the Saprea nonprofit for the prevention of child sexual abuse.

How a Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help You

After you make a report of child sexual abuse to the authorities, the criminal justice system should begin the process of bringing justice against your child’s abuser. Criminal charges can be incredibly beneficial for victims’ and family healing, but it can be difficult to get a guilty verdict in criminal cases. However, even if there are no charges, you may still be able to seek justice for child sexual abuse through the civil court with help from a child sexual abuse lawyer.

Filing a child sexual abuse lawsuit against your child’s abuser may be the only way to get financial assistance for your child’s recovery. Criminal charges don’t provide victims or families with any compensation, but a lawsuit can help you get damages for the suffering your child has endured and the expenses they’ll face relating to their abuse, such as medical bills and therapy costs.

If your child has been the victim of sexual abuse or assault, talk to a child sexual abuse attorney to learn about your options for seeking justice.

Get Civil Relief for Abuse With Help From a Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Here at Ramos James Law, we understand how shattering child sexual abuse can be for children and their families, and we are proud to offer our services to help victims and families seek justice for the wrongdoing they’ve faced. If your child was sexually abused, we can help you find the path forward.

You don’t have to go through the difficult process of recovering from this trauma without assistance. You can reach out to the Austin child sexual abuse lawyers at Ramos James Law for help filing a child sexual abuse lawsuit.

If your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, reach out to our Austin child sexual abuse lawyers for help seeking financial relief.

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