Brochure 1 English
There are various possible physical and behavioural indicators of child sexual abuse. The signs of any trauma can be catagorised in various groups:
General Post-traumatic stress symptoms not necessarily of sexual abuse, are:
Complaint of stomach and/or abdominal pain.
Radical change of appearance
Showing unusual fear for a certain place or location.
Withdrawing from previously enjoyable activities.
Signs of exhaustion or lack of sleep.
Late arrival or absence from school
Fluctuations in mood
Self-mutilation or self-harm
Inability to concentrate
Very eager to please others [over-compliance]
Change in appetite
Not wanting friends to visit at home
Not wanting to go home or getting home too early
Waking up during the night sweating, screaming or shaking with nightmares.
Showing unusually aggressive behaviour towards family members, friends, toys, pets.
Signs related to possible sexual abuse
Any injury, soreness, redness, swelling or itching around the genital or anal area.
Bleeding from the genital or anal area.
Evidence of regressive bedwetting, incontinence.
Recurrent urinary tract infections.
Foul odours emanating from genital area.
Vaginal or penile discharge
Complaining of pain while urinating or while having a bowel movement.
inappropriate sexual play with self and others
inappropriate sexually explicit drawings
knowledge of sexual acts that is inappropriate for age
excessive [inappropriate] masturbation
** Rarely is one indicator conclusive proof that a child has been abused. In most cases, a child will present
with a group of both behavioural and physical indicators.
What to do when you know or suspect that your child has been sexually abused or assaulted.
1. Do not bath or wash the child.
2. You need to report this to the nearest police station as well as to the local statutory organisation
such as CAFDA, Child Welfare or Social Development as soon as possible. This is required by law.
3. At the police station, a specialist FCS officer [Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences
Unit] must be called out by the police to talk to you and the child. You may request a female FCS
4. The FCS officer can also come to your house to investigate the allegations if you do not wish to stay
at the police station.
5. If you decide to stay at the police station, you must ask to go to the victims support room. This is a
child friendly room.
6. The FCS Officer will take a statement.
7. After talking to the FCS Officer, the child must be examined by the District Surgeon.
8. The District Surgeon will fill out a form called the J88 form. This is a medical legal document that
will be used for the police docket and in the court. Without this form there is little chance of
prosecution as this forms part of the evidence.
9. You may ask that the child be sedated during the examination as this will lessen further trauma.
10. The police will open the case file and give you a case number. This is called the CAS number.
11. The childs safety needs to be ensured.
12. A statutory social worker will be assigned to the case to assist the child and the family. If the
perpetrator is a family member, the social worker will decide the best way to ensure the safety of
the child. Often it is the perpetrator who has to leave the family home.
13. The Victims Service Charter enables you to know your rights and claim them from the service
providers [police, hospital staff, social services and all other departments of various government
institutions who work with victims of crime.]
14. Claim your rights.
© Norah Papanicolaou