Dynamics of Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse is often very different from adult sexual abuse.  Child sexual abuse has the following characteristics:

●  The perpetrator is typically a known and trusted caregiver.
● Physical force/violence is rarely used
● Child sexual abuse often occurs over many weeks or even years.
●Occurs as repeated episodes that become more invasive with time.
●Incest/intrafamilial abuse accounts for about 1/3 of all child sexualabuse cases.

Risk factors for victimization

A number of factors that make individual children vulnerable to sexual abuse have been identified; and include:
—female sex
—unaccompanied children;
—children in foster care, adopted children, stepchildren;
—physically or mentally handicapped children;
—history of past abuse;
—poverty;
—war/armed conflict;
—psychological or cognitive vulnerability;
—single parent homes/broken homes;
—social isolation (e.g. lacking an emotional support network);
—parent(s) with mental illness, or alcohol or drug dependency

PHYSICAL INDICATORS

Unexplained genital injury, Vaginal or penile discharge, Recurrent vulvovaginitis, Bedwetting and fecal soiling beyond the usual age, Anal complaints (e.g. fissures, pain, bleeding), Pain on urination, Urinary tract infection, STI, Pregnancy, Presence of sperm

BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS

 Regression in behavior, school performance or attaining developmental milestones,Acute traumatic response such as clingy behavior and irritability in young children, Sleep disturbances, Eating disorders,Problems at school, Social problems, Depression,a Poor self-esteem, Inappropriate sexualized behaviors
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