Sexual Assault: Is Your Child at Risk or Exhibiting Symptoms?

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According to Darkness to Light, a non-profit group in Charleston, sexual assault affects one in ten children. That means that there are likely to be two to three survivors, or future victims, in your child's class right now. It's further estimated that between 10.7% and 17.4% of girls, as well as 3.8% to 4.6% of boys, are targeted by predators before their 18[th] birthday. The Problem is Larger than Most People Think Although incidents involving women routinely receive press, children are more likely to be hurt than adults of any age group are.

  • Almost 70% of reported incidents of sexual assault in the United States involve people under the age of 18.
  • Only 38% of child victims tell someone about the abuse.
  • Nationwide, 14% of victims are age 5 or younger, 20% are between the ages of 6 and 11, and 32.8% are between the ages of 12 and 17.
  • In 45.8% of forcible rape cases, the victim is a minor.
Every Child is in Danger, Though Certain Factors Increase Risk Most child victims know their perpetrator, and the incident(s) typically occur one-on-one in a residence. Aside from this, the following things increase the chances that a child will be targeted:
  • Living in a household with only one parent, or residing with a parent and his/her live-in partner.
  • Living in a household without a biological parent.
  • Being female.
  • Being African American or Hispanic.
  • Residing in a low-income household, or having an unemployed parent.
  • Living in a rural area.
You Can Help Keep Your Child Safe Having a strong bond and open communication with you can help keep your child safe. Your child should also know that it's ok to tell an adult "No," when he feels uncomfortable, and he should know who he can turn to if he feels unsafe or has been violated. A small portion of victims meet their attackers online, so it's important to be aware of who your child speaks to online, and establish clear guidelines for conduct ahead of time. With that said, most predators are known to the family and the victim beforehand. Adults Who Abuse Children Often Exhibit Signs Many adults who abuse children seem normal, though they often give telltale signs that something's amiss with their behavior. Stop It Now! cautions people to watch out for adults who:
  • Encourage children to keep secrets.
  • Maintain more relationships with those underage than with other adults.
  • Have one close child friend, which may vary from year to year.
  • Use sexual terms to degrade someone when angry.
  • Make fun of children's body parts, or use sexual terms to describe children.
Children Don't Always Tell, But They May Show Signs That Something is Wrong Because children don't usually speak out about an incident, it's important to watch your child for indications that he may have been abused. Signs may include, but are not limited to:
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Mood swings/ acting out
  • Withdrawal
  • Has nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • Has changes in appetite
  • Begins to behave in an adult manner
  • Starts discussions of a sexual nature or has more knowledge of sex than a child his age normally would

Charleston Sexual Assault Attorney

If you believe your child has been hurt, please take him to a qualified healthcare professional immediately. In the aftermath, he may require ongoing medical treatment, mental health care, and have other needs as a result of the trauma he has endured. Courts often determine reparations to the victim are in order, to aid in the victim's recovery. If you'd like help in seeking a just settlement for your child, please contact us using our online form or speak directly to an attorney now by calling 1(800)610-2546.

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