Identifying and Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse

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This is a presentation for Nutley, NJ Parenting Advocacy group to help parents understand how to protect their children and what to do if they suspect abuse. I used current research and best practice when developing this presentation.

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  • Sexual touching – fondling, kissing, making child ouch adult sexual organs, penetrating a child’s vagina or anus in any way with an object that doesn’t have a medical purpose.Non-touching – indecent exposure or exhibitionism, exposing children to pornographic material, deliberately exposing a child to any sexual act, masturbating in front of a child, takingSexual exploitation – engaging child or soliciting child for purposes of prostitution; using a child to film, photograph or model pornography
  • As adults – untreated - PTSD, Depression, Eating Disorders, self-mutilation, perpetration, nightmares, flashbacks, fear, phobias, guilt, low self-esteem, memory gaps or lossCognitive issues – learning, understanding, attendingRelationships – often leading to being in abusive or being abusive in relationshipsAll depends on relationship with abuser, if there is treatment, type of abuse, length of abuse, if there is also violence, etc.
  • Repetitive abusers 30% 10 children or more, 1/3 of perpetrators are adolescentsMajority are married or in relationshipsDon’t believe what they do is wrong – 50% say they don’t see any distress in victims
  • Elliot, Michele – child abuse and neglect, “sexual abuse prevention: what offenders tell usAccess – child alone, Playground – friends of parents, befriends child, babysits, etc.Looks – small, , Child was pretty or attractive in a specific way to the perpetrator – what they wear (doesn’t matter)Kids taught to do what adults say no matter what
  • Places – parks, schools, shoppingmals, arcades, beaches, swimming pools, etc.Approached when child asked innocent questionGiving gifts to victims and future victims
  • Misrepresenting abuse -
  • Don’t make them touch someone they don’t want to touch,, no mouth kissing
  • Including play areas where you can’t see your child at every moment
  • Special favors – babysitter lets you stay up late if you do “something for me”
  • Children should always set at end of table or between parents at family dinners, in movie theaters
  • Fear of Being Left Alone
  • Can report anonymously – but better not to
  • Identifying and Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse

    1. 1. IDENTIFYING AND PREVENTING CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSEDR. EDINA RENFRO-MICHEL, LPC, ACS
    2. 2. AGENDA• Define• Outcomes• Perpetrators• Preventions• Signs and Symptoms• What do I do now?• Resources
    3. 3. SEXUAL ABUSE• Sexual Touching • Fondling, kissing, etc.• Non-Touching Sexual Offenses • Indecent exposure, exposure to sexual act• Sexual Exploitation • Soliciting for prostitution, using child for pornography
    4. 4. OUTCOMES OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE IN ADULTHOOD• Chronic • Cognitive Issues Psychological Issues • Suicide• Loss of Trust – • Addictions Relationship Issues • Aggression and• Abnormal or Bullying Distorted View of • Perpetration Sex and Relationships • Eating Disorders• Identity Confusion • Adjustment Issues
    5. 5. WHY DON’T CHILDREN TELL?• Threatened or Family/Pets Threatened• Told it was a Secret• Told they will get in Trouble – it is Their Fault• Try and Tell in Own Way but not Believed/Understood
    6. 6. WHY DON’T CHILDREN TELL?• Confused about the Relationship• Repress Memories• Cognitively Unable to Understand What Happened• Afraid of Being Taken out of the Family
    7. 7. WHO ARE THE PERPETRATORS?• All cultures• All races• All Ages• All socioeconomic statuses• Men and Women• Adults, Teens, and Children• Friends, neighbors, parents, parents of child‟s friends
    8. 8. WHO ARE THE PERPETRATORS?• Often abused or Witnessed Abuse• Form trusting relationships with victims• Use force, coercion, threaten, guilt• Often spend time grooming victims
    9. 9. HOW ARE CHILDREN TARGETED?• How Child Behaved • Innocent or Trusting • Lack Confidence or Self-Esteem • Family Problems • Curious• Access• How the Child Looks
    10. 10. RECRUITMENT• Frequented Places Children Go• Welcomed into Home• Approached by Child• Have Victims Recruit Other Children • Threatening • Giving Gifts
    11. 11. STRATEGIES• Offer to Play Games, Teach a Sport, Play Musical Instrument• Bribes or Presents• Took for an Outing, Gave Ride Home• Used Affection, Understanding, Love
    12. 12. STRATEGIES• Asked a Child for Help/Gain Sympathy• Gain Trust in Family or Other Adults• Babysitting – 50%• Using Online Websites/Social Media
    13. 13. GROOMING• Gaining Child‟s Trust• Talking About Sex• Psychological Abuse• Misrepresenting Abuse• Start with Touching or Kissing• Listening and Giving Attention
    14. 14. GROOMING• Bathing, Undressing• „Accidental Touch‟• Often Back off and Then Start Again• Drugs or Alcohol• Use Same Strategies Repeatedly
    15. 15. PREVENTION• Anatomy• Self-esteem• Safe Touch• Appropriate Boundaries• Trust Your Children‟s Instincts• Teach – Don‟t Trust Everyone
    16. 16. PREVENTION• Avoid Isolated Places• No Mouth Kissing• Talk about “Creepy” Feelings• Child Centered Play and Discussions
    17. 17. INCREASE RESILIENCY• Positive Self-Esteem• Question Authority• Compromise• Family and Individual Time• Teach about Secrets• Stop Teasing/Name Calling• Don‟t be Too Hard on Your Children
    18. 18. WHAT TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN• Don‟t Trust Everyone – Say NO! Stop!• Tell Me if Someone Tries to “Trick” You• Tell Me if Someone Touches You in a Private Place or in a Way You Don‟t Like• Don‟t be Fooled by “Special Favors”
    19. 19. WHAT TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN• Never go to Public Bathrooms Alone• Stay in Groups• Tell me if Friends Promise you Something for Going Somewhere with Them• Don‟t Take ANYTHING from Someone Without Asking Me
    20. 20. WHAT TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN• If Scared and Walking – Knock on Doors Until Someone Answers (stay outside)• Always tell me where you are going – even if it is across the street• Be Leary of an Adult Approaching You Alone
    21. 21. WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR• Someone More Interested in Your Children Than You• Overly Affectionate, Overly Loving• Adults That Often Bring Gifts to Your Children• Children Can be Abused Right in Front of You
    22. 22. WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR• Anyone can be an abuser – even if disabled• Children are Curious About Sex and Their Changing Bodies• Anyone Your Child Doesn‟t Want to Be Around• Secretive about being on the computer/social media
    23. 23. SIGNS OF ABUSE - MEDICAL• Pregnancy of Child• Sexually Transmitted Disease• Sore/Pain Vagina, Penis or Anus• Bleeding from Vagina or Anus• Unexplained Bruising on arms, legs, etc.• Chronic Urinary Tract Infections• Hemorrhoids• Injury to Palate• Sore Mouth or Throat
    24. 24. SIGNS OF ABUSE – PSYCHOLOGICAL SEXUAL INDICATORS• Sexualized Play• Sexualized Language or Statements• Sexualized Drawings/Artwork• Sexualized Play with Peers• Grooming of Adults or Children• Sexual Interactions with Animals or Toys• Excessive Masturbation
    25. 25. SIGNS OF ABUSE – PSYCHOLOGICAL ALL CHILDREN• Problems Relating to Peers• School Difficulties• Sudden Noticeable Changes in Behavior• Fear• Secretiveness• Unusual Aggressiveness• Excessive Masturbation
    26. 26. SIGNS OF ABUSE – PSYCHOLOGICAL AGES 0-2• Fear or Excessive Crying• Separation Anxiety• Vomiting• Feeding Problems• Bowel Problems• Sleep Disturbances – Change in Sleep Patterns• Failure to Thrive
    27. 27. SIGNS OF ABUSE – PSYCHOLOGICAL – AGES 2-9• Nightmares or Change in Sleep Patterns• Fearful Behaviors (people, places, activities)• Change in Personality or Temperament• Regression• Urinating or Defecating Problems
    28. 28. SIGNS OF ABUSE – PSYCHOLOGICAL – AGES 2-9• Self-destructive/Risk Taking Behaviors• Impulsivity, distractibility, daydreaming• Psuedeomaturity• Cruelty to Animals or Firesetting• Eating Issues• Fear of Being Left Alone
    29. 29. SIGNS OF ABUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL – OLDER CHILDREN• Depression • Promiscuity• Nightmares/Diffic • Substance Abuse ulty Sleeping • Aggression and• Poor School Anger Performance • Fearful Behaviors• Running Away • Suicidal Gestures
    30. 30. WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT A CHILD HAS BEEN ABUSED• Call Department of Children and Families • Hotline 877-652-2873• Call the Police Department • Nutley (973) 284-4940• Find a Counselor for the Child and/or Family • http://www.nbcc.org/CounselorFind
    31. 31. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A REPORT IS MADE• Investigated • Nutley – Juvenile Protective Bureau• Speak with Adults• When Allegation has Credibility • Forensic Interview of Child • Physical Exam – Specially Trained Nurse • Police will Contact DYFS
    32. 32. SOME WEBSITES• http://www.child-abuse-effects.com/index.html • Information and Blogs• http://aacap.org/page.ww?name=Child+Sexual+A buse&section=Facts+for+Families • Information on Sexual Abuse• http://www.stopcsa.org/index.html • Information and Hotlines• http://www.nsopw.gov/Core/Portal.aspx?AspxAuto DetectCookieSupport=1 • Government Sex Offender List
    33. 33. QUESTIONS? Contact Information for Dr. Edina Renfro-Michelrenfromichee@mail.montclair.edu

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