When parents or guardians in Oregon are going through some hard times, they may ask another relative to care for their children while they get on their feet. At times, the state may even take custody of the children until the parents are ready to get them back. While the goal is to find someone to care for the kids, the reality is that abuse, both physical and sexual, is all too common when children are placed in care of the state.

One of the most important things parents or guardians can do is be aware of the signs of sexual abuse. If a child has been abused while in the care of another, physical signs would be trauma to the genital area or sexually transmitted infections.

According to RAINN, children will also exhibit behavioral signs of abuse. Some of these signs include wetting the bed if the child has outgrown that phase, exhibiting sexual behavior that is advanced for the child’s age or the desire to always have clothing on even when it is time to change or bathe. Some children will have a fear of being away from their primary caregiver and do not want to be alone with specific people.

Emotional signs that abuse has occurred include excessive fearfulness or worry, fear of being alone at night or consistent nightmares, regression back to behaviors like thumb sucking and consistent knowledge or talking about sexual topics. The Mayo Clinic also encourages parents to pay careful attention when a child states that they have been abused and take the situation seriously.

It can be difficult to accept the fact that a child has been abused, especially when they were taken away from the parents or primary caregiver to keep them safe. Anyone who is in this situation may benefit from speaking to an attorney about their rights and protecting their children.