Someone you care about may be acting in ways that worry or confuse you. The behaviors below may indicate a possible risk of sexual abuse to a child, but may also be a way for this adult to ask for help. Many people with sexual behavior problems believe that others already suspect and often wish someone would ask what’s going on or advise them where to call to get help. Remember, you can start a conversation by pointing out harmful impacts on a child without accusing someone of abusive intentions.
Do you have concerns about someone you know in these areas of daily life?
- Misses or ignores social cues about others’ personal or sexual limits and boundaries?
- Often has a "special" child friend, maybe a different one from year to year?
- Spends most of his/her spare time with children and shows little interest in spending time with someone their own age?
- Encourages silence and secrets in children?
- Links sexuality and aggression in language or behavior, e.g. sexualized threats or insults, like “whore” or “slut”?
- Makes fun of children's body parts, describes children with sexual words like “stud” or “sexy” or talks again and again about the sexual activities of children or teens?
- Masturbates so often that it gets in the way of important day-to-day activities?
- Has an interest in sexual fantasies involving children and seems unclear about what's appropriate with children?
- Looks at child pornography or downloads/views Internet pornography and is not willing to show whether children are involved?
- Asks adult partners to dress or act like a child or teen during sexual activity?
- Has been known to make poor decisions while misusing drugs or alcohol?
- Justifies behavior, defends poor choices or harmful acts; blames others to refuse responsibility for behaviors?
- Minimizes hurtful or harmful behaviors when confronted; denies harmfulness of actions or words despite a clear negative impact?
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- Recognizing Warning Signs
- Definitions of Child Sexual Abuse
- How Abuse Happens
- Understanding Sexual Behavior in Kids
- Warning Signs in Children and Adults
- Warning Signs of Abuse in Children (Behavorial and Physical)
- Signs an Adult May Be At-Risk to Harm a Child
- Behaviors to Watch Out for When Adults are with Children
- How Can I Tell if My Child Has Been Sexually Abused?
- Warning Signs a Young Person May Be a Target of Online Sexual Abuse
- Warning Signs of Someone's Dangerous or Illegal Online Activity
- Prevention and Safety
- Keys to Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children
- Creating a Plan for Safety
- Considering Filing Reports
- Talking about It
- Finding the Courage to Speak Up
- Speaking to Someone with a Sexual Behavior Problem
- When a Child Tells About Sexual Abuse
- How Should I Respond to the Child?
- What Should I Do After a Child Tells?
- How Can I Better Understand What My Child is Going Through?
- Possible Reactions of Non-Offending Parents and Caring Adults
- Is the Child Telling Me the Truth?
- What Might the Person Who Has Offended be Thinking or Feeling after a Disclosure?
- Recovery and Therapy
- For Children and Adults Who Have Been Abused
- For Those At-Risk to Abuse Others or Who Have Offended
- For Parents and Caregivers
- Reporting and Legal Issues
- Filing Reports
- Child Protective Services and Police
- Legal Issues