Signs of Sexual Abuse

Perpetrator Behavior

A perpetrator most often is known to the child and is someone the child’s family trusts. Some behaviors by adults or older children may be reason for concern. Learn more.

Victim warning signs

Children who are sexually abused often show no physical signs, but may display behavior indictors such as:

  • Fear of certain people or places
  • Trouble sleeping, nightmares
  • Persistent, unexplained stomach illness
  • Mood swings, fear, rage, withdrawal
  • Acting out sexually or having sexual knowledge beyond their age/developmental level
  • Refusing to talk about a secret
  • Spending time with a new older friend

Learn more about the warning signs of possible child sexual abuse. Learn how to respond to abuse.

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Prevent Child Abuse Iowa 2704 Fleur Drive | Des Moines, IA 50321 | P: (515) 244.2200 | F: (515) 280.7835 | Toll Free: (800) 237.1815

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