The Warning Signs
If you're a child who has been sexually abused, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) for help or visit www.childhelpusa.org.

If you're a parent, grandparent or guardian, the following signs may indicate your child has been molested, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Some of these behaviors may have other explanations, but it is important to assist your child no matter what the cause. Also, keep in mind that children do not always demonstrate obvious signs, but may do or say something that hints at the molestation.

  • Changes in behavior, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness and excessive crying
  • Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed or other sleep disturbances
  • Acting out with inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters
  • A sudden acting out of feelings or aggressive or rebellious behavior
  • Regression to infantile behavior; clinging
  • School or behavioral problems
  • Changes in toilet-training habits
  • A fear of certain places, people or activities
  • Bruises, rashes, cuts, limping; multiple or poorly explained injuries
  • Pain, itching, bleeding, fluid or rawness in the private areas
What to do if your child has been abused