As a psychologist discussing male victims of sexual abuse one of the most common questions I am asked is:
What are the warning signs I might see in a child?

Although there aren’t any tell-tale signs a child is being abused, young children may try to tell adults about abuse in the only ways they know how: by acting out behaviorally!
If you see one or more of these as persistent signs in a child you know…

PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION!

Fear of going to bed – some children may fear falling asleep because they are having nightmares about being abused.

  • Falling asleep in class – perhaps they don’t feel safe sleeping at night or at home
  • Re-established bed wetting or a regression in other previously attained developmental milestones
  • Wearing the same clothes or seasonally inappropriate clothes (long sleeves or sunglasses may be used to cover bruises) or other odd behaviors.
  • The class clown – disrupting class may be a means to distract from traumatic memories & learning difficulties that arise because of trauma responses
  • Children with low self-esteem and those who are isolating themselves
  • The odd child that can’t relate to other children
  • Children bullying or picking on other kids (victims are often angry)
  • Children experimenting sexually (re-enacting what’s been done to them)
  • Developing a newly established fear of someone or a strong dislike of someone

They may make comments like:

  • “I don’t like the games they make me play”
  • “I don’t want to go to daycare,
  • Can’t you stay home with me”.

For more information on this and other important issues associated to childhood sexual abuse: please visit my website: kellipalfy.ca