Cambridgeshire: Signs Of Child Abuse

2 December 2011, 10:30 | Updated: 2 December 2011, 10:44

Teachers, police, social workers and childrens centre staff in Cambridgeshire are being taught how to spot the signs a child is being sexually abused today.

One in ten children is a victim, according to the charity 'Stop It Now' which is running the conference at Cambridgeshire Police's HQ.

It's part of a new push in Cambridgeshire to prevent children being sexually abused.

Members of the charity are running the training for those who work with children and their families. 

Director of Stop it Now!, Donald Findlater said: "It is not good enough to only respond to abuse after it has happened.

The prevention of child sexual abuse doesn't get too many headlines, but it does mean that children and families don't have to suffer the anguish that our headlines too often speak of after a child has been harmed.'

The following list of things to watch out for in children who may be being abused has been taken from the 'Stop It Now' website.

  • Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with other children, toys or objects.
  • Nightmares, sleeping problems.
  • Becoming withdrawn or very clingy.
  • Personality changes, seeming insecure.
  • Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting.
  • Unaccountable fear of particular places or people.
  • Outbursts of unexplained anger.
  • Changes in eating habits.
  • Physical signs e.g. unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals, sexually-transmitted diseases.
  • Becoming secretive.
  • Not being able to talk openly about their activity online.
  • Spending increasing amounts of time talking secretly with the new 'friend' online.
The following list of signs an adult may be abusing a child has also been taken from the 'Stop It Now' website.
  • Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters
  • Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it
  • Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager
  • Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions
  • Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age
  • Regularly offer to baby-sit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone
  • Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason
  • Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom
  • Treat a particular child as a favourite, making them feel 'special' compared with others in the family
  • Pick on a particular child.
The 'Stop it Now' campaign operates a free phone confidential helpline, 0808 1000 900, which people can call for advice and support in relation to child sexual abuse issues.