What are the Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse?

Reading the signs – what are the key indicators of child abuse?

Resource for victims, families

What Are the Signs of Child Abuse?

Symptoms of sexual abuse in children

Physical symptoms of child sexual abuse include anal or vaginal soreness, or a sexually transmitted infection.

More commonly, the signs of child abuse are emotional or behavioural. Indicators of child abuse include: sexualised behaviour inappropriate to the child’s age; social withdrawal and depression; regression to earlier stages of development (such as bedwetting); aggression; self-harming.

Symptoms in adults abused as children

Adults who have been abused as children may be still dealing with symptoms relating to their abuse much later in life. According to Adults Surviving Child Abuse, adults may have several, sometimes overlapping, mental illnesses related to their childhood abuse. These include: panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. 

If you know someone showing signs of sexual abuse symptoms, there are ways to report this to the authority. You can contact the community protection services in your area.