It could be the neighbor, a member of the church, a close friend or even a family member; sexual abuse of a child is often carried out by people close to home. This type of sexual abuse involves pressuring, forcing or tricking a child into sexual abuse or sexual awareness. The abuse might be verbal, emotional or physical, and often occurs when an adult uses a child for sexual pleasure. When a person begins abusing a child, the frequency of activity usually increases with time.

Abuse by someone close to home

A child does not have to leave his or her home to be subjected to sexual abuse. Many incidents of sexual abuse involve incest. These sexual relations are perpetrated by a person functioning in the role of a family member (biological or non-biological). This might be parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, cousins, stepparents and other family members. However, the abuse can go beyond immediate family members. Other trusted adults, including coaches, clergy, babysitters, members and school instructors, could sexually abuse children.

Many assume that sexual abuse includes physical force; however, this is not necessarily true for child-related sexual abuse. The harm can be mental and emotional, too. Furthermore, children rarely question the actions of adults. They trust and depend on older individuals and often believe that these authoritative figures are always correct. As a result, it is easy for perpetrators to take advantage of children’s vulnerabilities.

For this reason, incest-related abuse is extremely common. Statistics from Rape, Abuse & Incest National network indicate that approximately 15 percent of sexual abuse cases occur in children less than 12 years of age. Shockingly, 93 percent of juvenile sexual assault cases involved someone the children know, including family members.

Recognizing symptoms of sex abuse

Many children remain quiet about ongoing sexual abuse. Therefore, concerned adults or friends should look for any of following behavioral signs in a child, which may be indicators of child abuse:

  • Academic issues.
  • Depression.
  • Issues with eating.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Withdrawal from family members or close friends.
  • Odd hygienic behaviors (too much or too little).
  • Anxiety.
  • Sexual promiscuity at an early age.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

Some that have been abused sexually experience these symptoms. It is important to remember that children often do not come forward when they have been assaulted. This could be for multiple reasons, including trouble recognizing what is going on, confusion or fear of getting in trouble.

Child abuse happens all of the time. If you suspect that a child is being abused, it is important to take action. To learn more about sexual harassment and other types of harm, take the time to speak with a qualified child abuse attorney in your area.