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Child Abuse: Sexual Abuse and how to respond
The number of child sexual abuse cases reported in a given year has reached as high as 80,000, but the number of unreported instances is far greater. Many children who suffer from sexual abuse are afraid to tell anyone what has happened. The legal procedure of validating an episode is also difficult. Short and long term emotional and psychological damage can be devastating for victims of sexual abuse whose problem is not identified, stopped, and treated with professional help.
Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, stepparent, sibling or other relative. It can also occur outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher or random molester. When sexual abuse occurs, the child develops a variety of distressing feelings, thoughts, and other problems.
Often there are no physical signs of child abuse, or signs that only a physician could detect, such as changes in genital or anal areas.
The behavior of sexually abused children may include:
When a child tells an adult that he or she has been sexually abused, the adult may feel uncomfortable and may not know what to say or do. The following guidelines are for responding to children who have been sexually abused.
Parents should consult with their pediatrician or family physician, who may refer them to a physician who specialized in evaluating and treating sexual abuse. The examining doctor will evaluate the child's condition and treat any physical problem related to the abuse, gather evidence to help protect the child, and reassure the child that he or she is all right.
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Oppossitional Defiant Disorder
Post Partum Depression
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Survival Tips for Stepparents