Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse occurs all over the world to male and female children from every social and economic background. In the United States more than 80,000 cases of child sexual abuse are reported each year. Unfortunately, the exact number of actual cases is unknown since it is estimated that less than ten percent of child sexual abuse cases are actually reported to law enforcement agencies. Detailed explanations of what constitutes child sexual abuse can be found here:

Child Welfare Information Gateway

MedlinePlus: Child Sexual Abuse


There is no single method of preventing child sexual abuse, but there are measures that parents and others can take to protect children against sex offenders. The following websites offer detailed prevention strategies:

NSW Health Department - PDF Document

Protecting Children From Child Sexual Abuse

AAP Parenting Corner Q&A: Sexual Abuse

Don’t Wait: Everyday Actions to Keep Kids Safe – Stop It Now

Child predators, known as pedophiles , can be trusted family members, friends of the family, teachers, or complete strangers. There is no single profile defining who is likely to be a pedophile as child predators may be married, single, have great jobs, and even have children of their own. Predators do, however, often exhibit key behavioral patterns. Knowing what to look for can alert other adults and help further protect children:

Behaviors To Look For When Adults Are With Children – Stop It Now

Children don’t always tell when they are being or have been sexually abused. Sometimes evidence of abuse is exhibited in certain behaviors.

Here are a few websites that help identify several of these behaviors:

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Thoughts on why many children do not tell when they have been sexually abused:

Why Don’t Kids Tell? Talking to Your Children About Sexual Abuse – Telling It Like It Is

If a child does confide that they have been sexually abused, the following information is designed to help adults learn what to do with this information and how to help children cope with the trauma they have endured:

Responding”>Responding To Child Sex Abuse – American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Molestation – What to Do

Parenting a Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused: A Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents

Child victims of sexual abuse are often victimized by the abuse even after the physical trauma has ended. It’s not unusual for children to feel ashamed, unworthy of love, or untrusting towards others even as they grow into adulthood. The following website offers insight into some of the emotional effects of child sexual abuse:

For more information on child sexual abuse, please visit the following websites:

Child Sexual Abuse – American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Child Abuse – The Hidden Bruises – American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

The Depressed Child - American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Sexual Exploitation

FBI Publications – A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety

What is Child Pornography?

Child Pornography – Laws

Prostitution of Children

While there is no single solution to eradicating child sexual abuse, being aware of the dangers, symptoms and ways of helping children cope with child sexual abuse should be a top priority for adults everywhere. If you are a victim of child sexual abuse or if you suspect that a child is being sexually abused, please tell a trusted adult, contact your local law enforcement agency, or call the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 immediately.