call for a free consultation

Warning Signs of Child Molestation

According to Crimes Against Children Research Center, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are sexually abused by age 18. How can you keep your kids safe from sexual abuse? Know the difference between normal sexual behavior and warning signs of sexual abuse.

Types of Sexual Abuse:

1.) Inappropriate Touching Includes:

  • touching or fondling a child’s genitals/private parts or making a child touch someone’s genitals/private parts
  • playing sexual games
  • tongue-kissing or kissing in a sexual way
  • rubbing against child’s body or clothing in an intimate way
  • oral-genital or oral-breast contact
  • digital penetration or penetration with an object
  • vagina, oral or anal intercourse

2.) Non-Touching Activity Includes:

  • showing a child pornographic videos or images
  • voyeurism
  • indecent exposure
  • taking sexually explicit photos of a child
  • encouraging a child to witness sexual acts
  • masturbating in front of a child
  • forcing a child to masturbate
  • making sexual comments to a child

3.) Sexual Exploitation Includes:

  • soliciting a child for prostitution
  • taking pornographic images or video or making a child model pornography

Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse by Age:

Signs of molestation at 0-3 years of age:

  • fear
  • excessive crying
  • feeding and bowel problems
  • sleeping problems
  • failure to thrive

Signs of molestation at 2-9 years of age:

  • fear of certain things: people, places, activities
  • behavioral regression: bed wetting, stranger anxiety
  • trouble eating or changes in appetite
  • nightmares, trouble sleeping
  • withdrawal from loved ones
  • feeling shameful or guilty
  • masturbating excessively
  • victimizing others
  • fear of recurring attack

Signs of molestation in adolescents 9+:

  • depression
  • nightmares, trouble sleeping
  • doing poorly in school
  • promiscuous activity
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • signs of aggression
  • running away from home
  • fear of recurring attack
  • changes in appetite
  • early pregnancy
  • suicidal thoughts and gestures
  • overly mature behavior
  • exuding anger toward being forced into situations out of their control

Other Emotional, Behavioral, Psychosocial Indicators of Sexual Abuse in Children:

  • aggressive sexual behavior
  • setting fires
  • showing cruelty to animals
  • running away from home
  • acting especially clingy and dependent
  • having poor social skills
  • being withdrawn or isolating oneself from social activity

Physical Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse:

Although physical signs of sexual abuse are rare, if you see any of the following signs, take your child to the doctor for an examination to determine the cause:

  • pain during urination and/or bowel movements
  • bleeding, discharges or pain in mouth, genitals or anus
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • difficulty walking, sitting, standing
  • torn, bloody, stained underwear
  • involuntary urination or defecation
  • self induced injuries ie: cutting, burning, suicide attempts

What is Appropriate Sexual Behavior in Children?

Typical sexual behavior 0-5 years of age:

  • using childish language to talk about body parts
  • curiosity about how babies are made and where they come from
  • touching/rubbing their own genitals
  • curiosity about own genitals

Rare sexual behavior:

  • having sexual conduct with other kids
  • any signs or knowledge of adult-like sexual behavior
  • us of sexually explicit language or talking about sexual acts

Typical sexual behavior 6-12 years of age:

  • Curiosity and questions about menstruation, pregnancy and sexual behavior
  • experimenting with other children: kissing, touching, showing, role playing
  • private masturbation

Rare sexual behavior:

  • public masturbation
  • signs of adult-like knowledge

Typical sexual behavior of adolescents:

  • curiosity about sexual behavior and relationships
  • use of sexual language and talk to friends about sexual acts
  • private masturbation
  • sexual experimentation with other adolescents

Rare sexual behavior:

  • public masturbation
  • sexual contact with adults of young children

Signs That An Adult May Be Sexually Abusing Your Child:

Since children rarely admit to being sexually abused, it’s vital that parents, family members and friends keep an eye out for the following behavior of an adult:

  • refusal to give the child privacy or make their own decisions on personal matters
  • abnormal interest in child/teenager sexual development
  • pushing physical affection on a child ie: kissing, hugging, or wrestling when it’s obvious the child doesn’t want it
  • insisting on uninterrupted time alone with a child
  • buying child expensive gifts or giving them money for no reason
  • picking on a certain child
  • treating a certain child differently than others, treating them as their “favorite” or special
  • walking in on child/teenager in the bathroom
  • often offering to baby-sit or take child on overnight trips

Signs Your Child is Chatting with a Predator Online

The Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology conducted a study analyzing cyber-crime and how to identify a pedophile conversation that is using online grooming. This chart shows four different examples of grooming conversation styles. Being able to spot these types of dangerous conversations and warning your children of these conversation patterns could be a helpful tool for keeping them safe from online predators.

Common Stages of Online Grooming

Examples of Pedophile Online Grooming Conversations
Stages Friendship Forming Relationship Forming Risk Assessment Exclusivity Sexual Conclusion
 Descriptor 1  Exchanging personal information e.g. email, web-cam, pictures (early in chat)  Exchanging personal information e.g. email, web-cam, pictures (later in chat) Asking if parents are around OR who uses the computer Showing a feeling of love or exclusiveness  Giving body and figure description  Arranging for a day, date, time and location to meet in person
 Descriptor 2  Talking about boyfriends/girlfriends (early in chat)  Giving soft compliments, e.g. Sweetie, cutie  Asking child to delete their chats, making sure no one has the password to their account Describing sexual activity experiences to the child  Becoming boyfriend/girlfriend of each other   Discussing how to commute to the meeting point
 Descriptor 3  Getting information about and online profiles or accounts of child  Getting to know child – child’s hobbies, activities and interests  Asking if child is fine with seeing an older man/woman  Giving strong compliments, e.g. you are a sweetheart Exchanging sexual pictures or “sexting”  Ensuring child will come alone to meet
 Descriptor 4 Asking for personal information like age, gender, location, name, family details, etc  Talking about school, grades, homework, cell phone number  Asking if child is a cop/police-agent – Directly confronting situation Building trust with the child  Giving sexually oriented compliments, e.g. sexy  Deciding on what to do when they meet in person 

Source: Characterizing Pedophile Conversations on the Internet using Online Grooming

If you suspect your child or a child you know has been sexually abused, contact local law enforcement immediately. Our professional and compassionate nationwide child sexual assault victim attorneys are available to help with civil lawsuits. Contact us today at 800.925.0723






Take a step toward your recovery today

Call us today for a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help. We are committed to helping you in any way possible. If you have been the victim of institutional child molestation/sex abuse, we are ready to stand by your side and fight for you.
Call 1-800-925-0723 and start your recovery today.

You Pay No Fees Unless We Win.

Free Case Evaluation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.