Indicators of CSA

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 13, 2008 11:41 hrs

Sexual abuse is more likely to be identified through behavioural indicators, rather than by physical indicators.

Physical indicators

  • Difficulty in walking or sitting

  • Anxiety related illnesses, such as anorexia or bulimia

  • Discomfort in urinating or defecating

  • Recurrent urinary infections

  • Evidence of physical trauma, to the oral, genital or anal areas, manifested as bleeding, discharge, soreness and/or itching

  • Bruising and other injury to breasts, buttocks and thighs and other parts of the body

  • Sexually transmitted disease in a child of any age

  • Unexplained pregnancy

    Behavioural Indicators

  • Learning problems, inexplicable fall in academic grades, poor memory and concentration

  • Reluctance to participate in physical or recreational activities

  • Regression to younger behaviour, such as thumb sucking, bedwetting and speech difficulties

  • Tendency to cling or need constant reassurance

  • Sudden accumulation of money or gifts

  • Complaining of headaches, stomach pains or nausea without a physiological basis

  • Fatigue and sleeping difficulties

  • Poor self-care/personal hygiene

  • Depression

  • Social withdrawal such as poor or deteriorating relationships with adults and peers

  • Developing fears, phobias and anxieties (A fear of a specific place related to abuse, a particular adult, refusing to change into sports/swimming clothes)

  • Wearing of provocative clothing, or layers of clothes to hide injuries and/or to appear unattractive

  • Sexual knowledge, behavior, or use of language not appropriate to age level

  • Sexually abusive behavior towards other children, particularly younger or more vulnerable than themselves

  • Child running away from home/school.

  • Self-injurious behavior, like alcohol or drug abuse, body-mutilation, getting in trouble with law, suicide attempts. Source:

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