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Step 4: Recognize the Signs
|Step 1: Learn the Facts | Step 2: Minimize Opportunity | Step 3: Talk about It | Step 5: React Responsibly | The Five Steps to Protecting Our Children
Don't expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused. Signs are often there, but you have to know what to look for.
"Is my son's withdrawal due to preteen angst or is he being sexually abused?"
Learn the Signs
If you find physical signs that you suspect are sexual abuse, have the child physically examined immediately by a professional who specializes in child sexual abuse.
Use a Children's Advocacy Center whenever possible for physical exams and psychological evaluation and treatment.
Children's Advocacy Centers provide trauma sensitive, child-friendly, safe places for families to seek help. To find a center near you, contact the National Children's Alliance at http://www.nca-online.org/, or call 1-800-239-9950.
If you don't have a center near you, call Child Protective Services or law enforcement in your area. The opportunity to convict someone who has sexually abused a child may depend on evidence from a professional examination.