Sexual abuse can be very difficult to identify. However, there are steps you can take to help keep a child safe from sexual abuse and to protect a child if you suspect, or discover, that they have been abused.
There are different types of abuse which includes:
- sexual touching of any part of the body, clothed or unclothed, including using an object;
- all penetrative sex, including penetration of the mouth with an object or part of the body;
- encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity, including sexual acts with someone else, or making a child strip or masturbate;
- intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child or not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activity by others
- meeting a child following sexual ‘grooming’, or preparation, with the intention of abusing them
- taking, making, permitting to take, distributing, showing or advertising indecent images of children
- paying for the sexual services of a child or encouraging them into prostitution or pornography
- showing a child images of sexual activity including photographs, videos or via webcams.
Acts of child sexual abuse are committed by men, women, teenagers, and other children. Sex offenders are found in all areas of society and come from a variety of backgrounds. Significantly more men than women sexually abuse children; however, female sexual abuse is under reported and is sometimes not recognised as abuse.
Contrary to the popular image, abusers usually seem quite normal to others; friends, relatives and co-workers often find it hard to believe that someone they know has abused children. They are more likely to be someone that the child knows, like a relative, family friend or person in a position of trust, rather than a stranger.
If the abuser is another child or young person, the abused child may be very confused about their feelings and may rationalise, or be persuaded, that what is happening is ‘normal’. A child may not say anything because they think it is their fault, that no one will believe them, or that they will be teased or punished. The child may even care for an abusing adult – they will want the abuse to stop, but they may fear the adult will go to prison or that their family will break up.
Very young children and disabled children are particularly vulnerable because they may not have the words or the ability to communicate what is happening to them to someone they trust.
The causes of sexually abusive behaviour towards children are complex and not fully understood. As well as the abusers’ sexual urges and willingness to act upon those urges, other factors may be involved: power and control issues, traumatic childhood experiences, and troubled families. Child sexual abuse can also be motivated by money, as it is in the case of child prostitution and pornography.
The above has been reblogged from NSPCC website
- What is CSA?
- What is the difference between CSA and exploitation?
- What is grooming and what role does it play in CSA?
- Are there different types and/or styles of grooming?
- What role (if any) does gender play in CSA?
- What can be done to better protect children?
- What can the police and social services do to improve response to CSA?
- How can we change service delivery to ensure that survivors feel empowered and safe enough to share their stories and experiences?
- What is the best way to help offenders of CSA?
Child Sexual Abuse: What are the issues & challenges? & how can Children be better protected? Share your views @SWSCmedia today 8:00 PM GMT / 3:00 PM EST.