Discussing sexual abuse with your child can be a difficult and painful experience. It can be even more painful to learn that your child is the victim of sexual abuse in their school. While this is a rare issue, it does occur, and it is something that you should be aware of. It is important that you communicate with your child about this issue if you suspect that they are the victim of sexual abuse, or even if you don’t. Sometimes children will hide sex abuse well, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening in the school. To make sure that you detect any issues, you should make sure that your child is comfortable having this conversation with you. On this page, I discuss how to talk to your child abuse sex abuse in school, how to recognize sex abuse, and what to do if your child is a victim.
Talking to Your Child About Sexual Abuse
Discussing sex and sexual abuse with your child will answer their questions, help them to understand sexual abuse, and make sure that your communication regarding this issue is clear. You should discuss both sex and sexual abuse with your child in age appropriate terms. It can be helpful to have multiple discussions about this issue instead of one big conversation. Such a conversation might be overwhelming to your child.
In addition, you should teach your child about their body parts so that they can accurately communicate any issues to you. Make sure that your child knows that some body parts are private and should not be touched by other people, even if a teacher or another adult says that it is ok. Your child likely trusts their teachers and other school staff members, but they need to know that they should stand up to these people if they make them uncomfortable. Teach your child that they can and should say “no” if other people want to touch their private areas.
You should also tell your child to inform you if someone tries to touch their private body parts. Talk openly with your child about sex and sex abuse and make sure they know that they can ask you any questions that they have or come to you with issues.
Recognizing Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse in school is a horrible crime, and it is something that you hopefully never have to deal with. However, it is important to recognize the warning signs of such abuse so that you can help your child if they do find themselves in this situation.
Watch for physical warning signs of abuse such as bleeding or bruising of their genitals, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, etc. In addition, you should watch for emotional warning signs of abuse such as nightmares, anxiety, talking often about sex, fear of being left alone with certain people, sudden aggression, etc. Finally, watch for behavioral warnings signs of abuse such as bedwetting, reverting to childish behavior that they have grown out of, avoiding bathing or getting undressed, etc.
If your child is being abused in school, they may develop an aversion to school. They may fake sickness to get out of school, or lose interest in their studies. Take these issues into consideration if you suspect sexual abuse.
Suspecting sexual abuse by a teacher or another school staff member is serious. You should talk honestly with your child and consider getting a therapist or a school counselor involved. Make sure that your child knows that they will not get in trouble for telling the truth.
Chances are that your child is not the first victim – and if something isn’t done, they won’t be the last. Contacting the police is an important step to take.
If you suspect that your child experienced sexual abuse, or if they tell you that they have, you should take action as soon as possible. Take your child to a doctor and contact a child injury lawyer as soon as you can.