Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse

AuthorLoree Armstrong Beniuk, Jo-Anne Hughes, and Jack Reynolds
Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse
Susan Brown frowned as she surveyed her h-grade classroom. She had assigned
the class a writing exercise, and most of the children had their heads down con-
centrating on their work. But in a corner seat, Ruth was again sagging into a mid-
morning nap. is had been developing into an almost daily occurrence over the
last couple of months. Sighing, Susan decided to allow the child to doze o. Ruth
had changed from a perky, industrious youngster into a sad-faced little girl who had
diculty concentrating on anything.
At the lunch break the teacher held Ruth back and asked her if something was
wrong. Ruth returned her teacher’s gaze, burst into tears and said she had to sleep
at school because she couldn’t sleep at home. If she fell asleep she would wake
up to nd her mother’s new boyfriend “doing things” to her. So, she stayed awake.
Susan Brown was now considering what to do with that information.
— Mary Wells, Canada’s Law on Child Sexual Abuse
Whether you are a caregiver, teacher, physician, childcare worker, or
have some other contact with children, it is important to understand
the signs of sexual abuse. All provinces and territories in Canada require
the reporting of suspected child abuse to the designated authority, and
many place an added duty on people working in a professional capacity
with children.1
The signs, symptoms, or clues that may lead someone to suspect that
child sexual abuse has occurred or may be at risk of occurring are called
“indicators.” Indicators may be physical, behavioural, and/or emotional.

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