Child sexual abuse can occur right under a parent’s nose because there aren’t a lot of visible signs. In fact, sexual abuse doesn’t always involve bodily contact. Sometimes, abusers get off on showing children sexually explicit materials, introducing them to sexual situations, or exposing themselves to children. When this occurs, it is often considered hidden abuse because it is very hard to identify.

Hidden Abuse Is Often Child Sexual Abuse

While it may be easier to pin point physical abuse due to bruises, broken bones, and unexplained injuries, signs of child sexual abuse can be more difficult to detect. Sadly, most children know and even trust their abusers. Because of this, abused children are often ridden with guilt and shame and generally don’t come forward to tell their parents or other authorities about the abuse.

So How Can Parents Identify Abusers?

While not everyone you know is an abuser, there are some tell-tale signs that should help you raise a red flag and question whether your child should be around a certain person or situation. Some of these factors include:

  • Mental illness. If someone you know is suffering from depression or has an untreated mental illness like bipolar disorder, it could be an indicator that the person is not mentally all there. When you cannot trust people to take care of themselves, or you are worried about them harming themselves, it is a possibility that they may also harm children.
  • Child abuse victim. When someone was raised by a parent that was abusive or if a person was abused by someone else as a child and never sought professional help, he or she might act out what happened in his or her childhood on innocent children.
  • Domestic violence. When someone is a victim of domestic violence or if children grew up witnessing domestic violence and never sought help, it can be damaging and cause them to not know how to treat others. This can come out in physical or sexual abuse.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse. If someone has lived with an addict, it is very likely that the person may have been a victim of abuse and neglect. This can cause them to act out their issues on innocent children.

What Can I Do to Help?

While not everyone who is a victim of domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, or child abuse will turn into an abuser, these are indicators that parents need to be aware of in order to best protect their children from abuse. Please share this information with others on Google Plus so that parents are aware of these factors. You never know what child might need protection from an abuser.

Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney