What are signs of sexual abuse

Recognize child sexual abuse

Children don't invent abuse

80 to 90 percent of the perpetrators are male and come from the immediate environment, for example from the family, neighborhood, daycare center, school or from the sports club. "The children often find it very difficult to talk about it, not all of them manage to confide in someone at all. They are ashamed, intimidated by the abusing people or feel unfounded guilty," explains Miriam Rassenhofer, child and adolescent psychotherapist and junior professor for teaching, dissemination and networking in child protection at the Ulm University Hospital.

It is important to know that children do not make up sexual abuse on their own. Often their hints are misunderstood by adults, for example when they do not want to go to piano lessons without being able to explain the reasons. "In any case, you should pay attention if there are new abnormalities or changes in behavior," says the psychologist. Some children become anxious, sad or aggressive, withdraw, complain of stomach pains, sleep poorly, wet themselves or even exceed the sexual boundaries of other girls or boys. Nevertheless, an assessment remains difficult: "Every change can also have other causes, for example bullying. Some affected children even behave particularly well. In addition, clear injuries to the body are rarely found," says the psychologist.