Child Sexual Abuse is a crime. A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual acts or imitation of such acts, by an adult or older youth that has power over them. Sometimes the child won’t understand that what’s happening to them is abuse. They may not even understand that it’s wrong. Child Sexual Abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child, and it can happen online. Child Sexual Abuse exists in many forms including touching and non-touching activities.
Children are usually sexually abused in places where they should be safe: home, school, community centers such as churches, mosques, sports facilities, play-grounds.
A perpetrator does not have to be an adult to harm a child and majority of perpetrators are someone the child or family knows. They can have a relationship to the child this includes a father, uncle, sibling or playmate, other family members, teacher, coach or instructor, caretaker or the parent of another child. Research shows that as many as 93% of victims under the age of 18 know the abuser.
Child sexual abuse is not always easy to spot. The perpetrator could be someone you’ve known a long time or trust, which may make it even harder to notice. Consider the following warning signs:
It is human to tell ourselves my child would have told me if anything was happening, it cannot be happening right under my nose, he has always been a nice man, he has taken been taking very good care of the children, he is just a teenager, my child can never do that, he is a pastor, he is happily married etc.
Signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be readily obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favouring a particular child and creating reasons for them to be alone.
There may be cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult or young person if they:
You can take action to protect your child and other children around you from Child Sexual Abuse when you?
Our 5 steps program for preventing child sexual abuse can be accessed here.
It is normal to feel a little overwhelmed and confused in this situation. When talking with an abused child, the best thing you can provide is calm reassurance and unconditional support. Let your actions speak for you if you’re having trouble finding the words. Remember that talking about the abuse may be very difficult for the child. It’s your job to reassure the child and provide whatever help you can
You can call us at The Cece Yara Foundation. You will be able to talk to someone:
Use our safe kids directory to get information on all child protection services.
You too can support in the fight against Child Sexual Abuse in Nigeria.
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