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Prevent and detect child sexual abuse early

Prevent and detect child sexual abuse early

June 15, 2024

According to the WHO, one in five adult women and one in 13 adult men report having suffered sexual abuse in childhood. Data from the OECD of 2014 show that of the participating countries, Mexico occupies the first place in sexual abuse and homicide in children under 14 years of age. The most alarming thing is that only 30% of sexual attacks on minors are reported .

What is child sexual abuse?

A sexual abuse is any forced sexual activity between a child and someone older . These activities are divided into sexual behaviors without physical contact and sexual behaviors with physical contact.

Sexual behaviors without physical contact include :

  • Sexual comments in front of the minor.
  • Display of genitals in front of the child, sometimes there can be masturbation.
  • Spy on the child while bathing or changing.
  • Display of pornography to the child or adolescent.
  • Induce the child or adolescent to undress or masturbate in front of the aggressor.

Sexual behaviors with physical contact are :

  • Touching of intimate parts above or below the clothing.
  • Induce the child to touch the aggressor.
  • Digital penetration or with objects (either in the anus or in the vagina).
  • Oral sex
  • Penis penetration

Contexts on what sexual abuse can occur :

  • Victim and aggressor
  • Group sex
  • Sex rounds
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Child pornography
  • Child prostitution

Risk factor's

30% of the sexually abused children were victims of a relative, 60% of a known and only 10% did not know their attacker.

Unfortunately, there is no specific profile in children that determines the occurrence of abuse or violence , nor a specific profile of a child sexual abuser. Abusers can be of any age, sex and religion, usually represent figures of respect or authority for the child (even the parents themselves).

All children are vulnerable to being violated in some way, especially children under 4 years of age, but there are also situations that could increase the risk of sexual abuse, for example:

  • Children who are in care other than their parents.
  • Lack of sex education
  • Need for affection and / or attention.
  • New couples of parents.
  • Shyness and / or isolates.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Lack of communication in the family.
  • Adolescents with a history of substance abuse.
  • Physical or intellectual disability.

Alarm signs

There are warning signs present and recurrent in children who have been violated, although they can not always be easily detected, they are:


Behavioral warning signs :

  • Games: small children play with their dolls the abuse they have experienced.
  • Enuresis or / and ecopresis.
  • Any regression in development for no apparent reason.
  • Tantrums.
  • Night terrors.
  • School failure.
  • Problems to relate.
  • Hypersexuality or / and autoerotism.
  • Unusual sexual knowledge for age.
  • Compulsive masturbation

Physical alarm signals :

  • Irritation in the genital area.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Blows, bruises or any sign of physical abuse.
  • Frequent headaches or stomach

Emotional signs :

  • Humor changes
  • Crying
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation


Behavioral warning signs :

  • Social isolation
  • School failure
  • Addictions
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping disorders
  • Difficult to focus
  • Unusual sexual knowledge for age
  • Prostitution
  • Promiscuity
  • Rebellion
  • House leaks

Physical alarm signals :

  • Blows or bruises.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Unwanted pregnancy.
  • Frequent headaches or stomach

Emotional signs :

  • Depression
  • Humor changes
  • Abulia
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Guilt
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Anxiety disorders

How can child sexual abuse be prevented?

  • It promotes self-esteem, security and values ​​from childhood.
  • Encourage communication Whether it is with a child or adolescent it is best to know that there is someone to trust and someone who can help them if they feel threatened.
  • Teach to identify dangerous situations according to their age and your personal situation.
  • Never force them to kiss or have physical contact with other people . It is common that when young children do not want to kiss relatives, parents force them, however, this decision to decide physical contact can give them strength to "defend" when someone tries to touch them inappropriately.
  • Hygiene and body care . The less dependent minors are for their personal hygiene, it is better for them to know that under no circumstances can they be touched in an inappropriate way.
  • Promote the limits . Children must be taught that they can not pass the limits that caregivers put on them, but not arbitrarily, on the contrary, it is important to explain to them assertively that in everything and for everything there are rules that can not be transgressed.
  • Encourage empathy. Teach them to learn to say "I do not like it" so that in a situation they do not like, they can say "I do not want" or "I do not like it".

What to do in case of suspicion of sexual abuse?

Abusers can be men and women, of any age (Other minors can also be aggressors) and religion, in general, are a figure of respect or authority for the child.

If there is any suspicion of sexual abuse of a minor, actions must be taken to protect the integrity of the child at all times. It must be remembered at all times that it is a crime that has to be reported to the appropriate authorities, regardless of who the sexual abuse proceeds from.

Tests to detect sexual abuse must include medical and psychological evaluation with trained professionals for that diagnosis.

The prognosis will depend on multiple factors, such as: child's age, context, support network and abuse situation . However, all minors who have suffered sexual abuse need a therapeutic process adapted to their needs and probably also medical attention, depending on the physical damage.

Recognizing Signs Of Physical Child Abuse HD (June 2024).

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