The statistics on just how many children will be a victim of sexual assault may shock you: local experts say one in four girls, and one in six boys will become victims, before the age of eighteen.
Add to it, only one in ten will admit they’ve been victimized, and that’s why experts say it’s so important for parents to know what to look for if they think their child has become a victim.
Therapist Cheryl Young says 95% of the time, a child victim of sexual abuse knows their offender, and knows them well.
Young says look for behaviors that don't make sense for your child's age, "the number one thing to remember about kids who are being traumatized is that they regress back".
She says look for symptoms like bed wetting, or baby talk, fears of going to bed and separation, and a big one: if your child's interests and play become sexualized before they're at a knowing age, “"that should suggest to any of us as parents that something's not going well".
Young says if you suspect something is wrong to seek professional help.
Let your child know that you believe them and have confidence in them, but leave the investigation to the professionals - asking your child too many investigative questions yourself can actually jeopardize a case later in court.
If you suspect anything, or want more information, call the child protection hotline at 242–1211.
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