The effects of sexual abuse on a child are very serious and they can last a lifetime. It is devastating for parents to discover that their child has been abused, and even more devastating for the child. An expert who specializes in working with child sexual abuse once told me that the symptoms in the child can be ‘everything or nothing’. In other words, it can be quite hard to know whether or not a child has been abused because there may be different or confusing signs or even no signs at all. Very young children might not be able to tell you about the abuse, and older children might choose not to tell you, partly because of the shame, guilt and fear associated with the abuse.
To some extent, a close, supportive, loving relationship with your child might go part of the way towards protecting her (or him) from sexual abuse by outsiders. But this isn’t always the case and it may be that someone still manages to find a way to abuse her. Check out this valuable article that gives really useful, practical and sensible tips on how to protect your child from sexual abuse. See a clinical psychologist in your area if you have concerns or if you suspect your child may have been abused. For a referral to a professional who can help you with your child, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have anything to add about possible ways to protect your child against abuse, please share with us.