Signs of a Child Abuser

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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:

  1. 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
  2. Insisting on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with, or holding a child even when the child does not want this physical contact or attention
  3. Turning to a child for emotional or physical comfort by sharing personal or private information or activities that are normally shared with adults
  4. Frequently pointing out sexual images or telling inappropriate or suggestive jokes in the presence of children
  5. Exposing a child to adult sexual interactions without apparent concern
  6. 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
  7. 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)
  8. Insisting on or managing to spend unusual amounts of uninterrupted time alone with a child
  9. Taking children on special outings alone, buying children gifts or giving them money for no apparent reason
  10. Agreeing to babysit, or watch over children whenever the parents cannot.
  11. Frequently walking in on children/teens in the bathroom
  12. Allowing children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behavior

For general signs in children being abused, read here. For specific signs common in younger children, read here. For specific signs common in adolescents, read here.

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.