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Experts continue to disagree on the number of children who have been a victim of sexual abuse. The problem lies in defining this abuse and the fact that many people never report it. Parents wish to protect their children from having to testify in court and don’t want them to have the stigma of being labeled a sex abuse victim. However, people need to speak up if this problem is to be stopped. What do parents need to know about child sexual abuse to protect their loved ones?

Who is Most at Risk? 

Females remain most at risk of being a victim of child sex abuse. The same holds for children from low-income families, as they often have less supervision. Furthermore, a child who is a victim of another crime, abused children, and neglected children remain at risk. If a parent suspects someone has sexually abused their child, they need a child abuse attorney to investigate the matter and resolve it. 

Who are the Likely Offenders? 

Men serve as the most common child sexual abuse offenders, according to Crimes Against Children Research. Oftentimes, the abuser is a child themselves, and men under the age of 30 serve as the largest group of offenders, although older individuals may also commit this crime. Parents must remain vigilant regardless of the age of males around their children. Sadly, most victims know their abuser. People often assume their children are most at risk around strangers, but this isn’t the case. 

Child Sexual Grooming

Parents need to understand child sexual grooming and know the signs of someone doing this to their child. The American Bar Association reports this grooming precedes many child sexual abuse cases. Grooming occurs when a person gains the trust of a child with the intent of sexually abusing them. The sexual predator takes on a caring role in a child’s life and gradually works to build trust in the relationship. They make take on an authoritative role to accomplish their goal. 

At times, the predator establishes a relationship with the family to gain easy access to alone time with the child. They may pick a child frequently left unsupervised and offer to spend time with the child so they aren’t by themselves so much. The parents appreciate having someone to watch over the child, and the predator takes advantage of this. If an adult seems to take an overwhelming interest in a child, parents need to question their motives. 

Open Communication

Parents must educate themselves regarding child sexual abuse and talk to their children about it. If a child knows what constitutes sexual abuse, they can speak up as soon as someone abuses them. They need to also feel comfortable telling someone no if they don’t like what the person is doing. Parents should explain children don’t have to be alone with an adult unless it is a parent and react responsibly if their child reports an adult has made them feel uncomfortable. Open lines of communication help reduce the risk of a child being abused. 

If your child says someone is sexually abusing them, report the abuse to the proper authorities immediately. This helps to limit contact between the child and the abuser and shows the child adults believe them. Furthermore, contact a child abuse attorney for help in navigating the legal system. Your child deserves justice, and the attorney will work to ensure they get it.