Kids can be sexually abused by other kids

People are often surprised to learn that, in fact, over a third of all sexual abuse of children is committed by someone under the age of 18. Most of us are clear that sexual behaviors between adults and children are illegal and harmful. It can be more difficult to recognize and respond when sexual behaviors happen between children or between older youth and children. It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between kids engaging in mutual sexual exploration and sexual behaviors between children that are more concerning.

Children as young as 4 or 5 may unknowingly engage in sexual behavior that is inappropriate or harmful, although it is more likely that a harmful child will be of adolescent age. Usually, but not always, the child or young person causing harm is older than the other child. A child who is being abused may be uncomfortable or confused about what is happening, but may also feel that they are willingly involved or to blame for being in the situation.

Sometimes children don’t realize what is harmful to others

Children may engage in inappropriate interactions without knowing or understanding that they are being inappropriate or that they are hurting or harming another child. It is important that adults talk with children about what behaviors are not appropriate and to set and model appropriate boundaries. For example, when we are talking with our children about how no one should touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, we should also tell them it is not okay for them to touch a child in a way that makes the child uncomfortable.

Sometimes parents are unsure what to do

It can be hard to tell the difference between sexual behaviors that are natural and healthy and those that are more concerning or harmful. Many factors must be considered including the age difference between the children, the sexual behavior itself, and how the child feels before, during, and after the interaction occurs. If you suspect that children are interacting in sexually harmful ways, seek the guidance of a professional who can assist you and your child.

 

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Helpful Organizations
Organization: National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth

Description:

FAQ’s and publications about youth with sexual behavior problems, offending youth, and healthy sexual development

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Organization: The New England Adolescent Research Institute (NEARI)

Description: Education and treatment center offering a free catalog of publications for professionals and families addressing treatment and recovery for youth with sexual behavior problems
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Helpful Articles
Title:All Books Available from Safer Society Foundation Press
Abstract:Free catalog of publications specializing in sexual abuse prevention and treatment, including recovery for victims, those who have abused and family members
Authors:
The Safer Society Foundation Press
Related Files:
Title:Helping Children with Sexual Behavior Problems and Understanding Children
Abstract:Moderately priced booklets available for purchase directly from this licensed clinical psychologist and lecturer specializing in child sexuality and sexual abuse (both victimization and perpetration).
Authors:
Toni Cavanagh Johnson
Related Files:
Title:Parents Sex Ed Center
Abstract:What adults need to know about teen sexuality, including how to talk to them about it
Authors:
Advocates for Youth
Related Files:
Title:Understanding Your Childs Sexual Behavior: Whats Natural and Healthy
Authors:
Toni Cavanagh Johnson
Related Files:
Title:Understanding problematic sexual behavior on the Internet, recovery tools, and changing the way you live.
Abstract:Pointing to a way out, this book explores the danger signs, dynamics of the addict
Authors:
Joseph M. Moriarity, Patrick J. Carnes, David L. Delmonico,Elizabeth Griffin.
Related Files:
Helpful Links