A child in state custody seems like the safest place to be in Oregon. After all, the state took the child away from often an unsafe situation, but the child may not be any safer in state custody. There are a few warning signs that can alert someone to the sexual abuse of a child.
The RAINN organization states there are physical, emotional and behavioral warning signs to look for. Physical warning signs focus on bodily harm including genital area trauma and sexually transmitted infections. A child exhibiting inappropriate sexual behavior or excessively speaking about sexual topics may also have experienced abuse.
Other emotional and behavioral signs do not necessarily point to sexual abuse but can indicate it has or is happening to the child. A child who suddenly starts having nightmares, worries excessively, resumes thumb sucking or starts wetting the bed again may have experienced sexual abuse. They may also have no desire or show fear when near a specific person.
The Stop It Now organization understands that other stress signals could cause these signs but multiple signs together may indicate abuse. Young children and adolescents may exhibit similar signs such as drawing sexual images, discussing new older friends, exhibiting sexual behaviors or experiences sudden mood swings.
Adolescents may attempt suicide, experience depression, run away, injure themselves intentionally, eat compulsively or abuse drugs or alcohol. The child should see a doctor if someone notices these warning signs. The doctor will check for sexually transmitted diseases if there is suspicion that has happened.
The organization recommends creating a safety plan for children. For those in caregiving situations, keep track of concerning behavior in a journal.