Watch a video sample of the Stop, Go and Tell presentation:
Things to look for:
The following is a list of indicators of POSSIBLE sexual abuse. Please remember that these behavioral and physical indicators may be due to another reason.
- Acting out or passive withdrawal
- Persistent and inappropriate sexual play with toys, animals or peers
- Detailed and unexplained sexual knowledge that is beyond age expectations
- Seductive, precocious sexual behavior and gender confusion
- Aggressive sexual behavior, especially in boy victims
- Excessive, persistent, public masturbation
- Disturbances in eating patterns, i.e. binge eating, loss of appetite, gagging, hoarding food
- Disturbances in toileting patterns, i.e. wetting/soiling themselves
- Disturbances in sleep patterns, i.e. nightmares, night terrors, fear of the dark, fear of being alone in bedroom, wanting to sleep with a parent
- Extraordinary fear of the same sex adults, baby-sitters, etc.
- Unexplained and unusually intensive guardedness, mistrust, clinging and watchfulness
- Verbal statements by the child
- Regression: returning to earlier, outgrown behaviors
- Outbursts and tantrums, irritability
- “Fragile” feelings: hurt easily, quick to cry
- Nervous behavior, worry
- Bedwetting or thumbsucking
- Difficulty urinating or having bowel movements
- Blood on a child’s underpants
- Genital or anal bruises, fissures and lacerations
- Frequent vaginal infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Physical complaints such as headaches and stomach aches
What to do if a child discloses abuse to you:
- Believe the child.
- Listen to what is being said to you.
- Stay calm.
- Reassure the child that he/she has done the right thing by telling you.
- Do not -I repeat- do not ask the child details about the abuse!
- Do not promise not to tell. In fact, don’t make promises of any kind.
- Assess child’s immediate safety.
- Be supportive - know that this telling was very difficult for the child.
- Call the child abuse hotline a.s.a.p. and/or the police depending on your assessment of danger for the child.
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
Call the DHS Child Abuse Hotline
Open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
- In Oklahoma, everyone is a mandatory reporter. There is no excuse for not reporting suspected abuse even if you know someone else is reporting. Multiple reports will give more credence to the report.
- You are not responsible for determining if a report is accurate. That is the responsibility of DHS to determine the accuracy and seriousness of abuse.
- If you are uncomfortable, get someone you trust to sit with you while you call.
- If you have a file on the child, have it with you when you call. You will be asked several questions and the more information you have on hand, the easier it is to report efficiently and accurately.
- Make an incident report for your school district of the report and inform the school.