Sometimes it is possible to know about sexual abuse from the behaviour of the perpetrator. Remember that in most cases the perpetrator is someone the child knows. A combination of the following behaviours of a person around a child could be cause for concern:
- Refusing to let a child set any of his or her own limits; using teasing or belittling language to keep a child from setting a limit
- Insisting on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with, or holding a child even when the child does not want this physical contact or attention
- Turning to a child for emotional or physical comfort by sharing personal or private information or activities that are normally shared with adults
- Frequently pointing out sexual images or telling inappropriate or suggestive jokes in the presence of children
- Exposing a child to adult sexual interactions without apparent concern
- Having secret interactions with teens or children (e.g., games; sharing drugs, alcohol, or sexual material) or spending excessive time e-mailing, messaging, or calling children or youth
- Being overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (e.g., talks repeatedly about the child’s developing body or keeps asking if the child is dating anybody)
- Insisting on or managing to spend unusual amounts of uninterrupted time alone with a child
- Taking children on special outings alone, buying children gifts or giving them money for no apparent reason
- Agreeing to babysit, or watch over children whenever the parents cannot.
- Frequently walking in on children/teens in the bathroom
- Allowing children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behavior
For signs sometimes displayed by adults who have been abused, read here.
If you suspect a case of sexual abuse, please do not keep quiet but take action to stop it. Here is some information about how you can help.