While children may not disclose sexual abuse, they may show possible indicators. This might include one or more of the following:
- significant changes in behaviour (such as reverting to soiling or bed wetting, a decline in school performance)
- sexual behaviour or knowledge about sex that is beyond the child’s age
- sudden fears or fear of being with a specific person
- unexplained change in emotional state
- becoming unusually secretive
- pain in the genital or anal area.
But be alert not alarmed – these are possible indicators, not tell-tale signs. Just because an older child wets the bed does not mean they are (or have been) the victim of sexual abuse.
While children show curiosity and a range of behaviours while growing up, the take home message is to be alert to changes in emotions and behaviour that seem out of the ordinary for your child.