Know the Facts
Child sexual abuse is more common than you think.
These facts are from the Children's Advocacy Centers of Michigan website www.CACMI.org
1 in 10
10% of children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
of victims know their abuser. It's not the "stranger in a van."
1 in 7
Youth internet users have received unwanted sexual solicitations.
How do CACs Help Kids?
What this 1 minute video about Children's Advocacy Centers from the National Children's Alliance to understand our work.
Learn the facts about child sexual abuse so that you can act to protect children. These facts are from the Children's Advocacy Centers of Michigan website: www.CACMI.org
Child sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or a young person not on the same developmental level as the child) that is…
A. sexual, or done for sexual gratification
B. non-consensual (a child cannot consent!)
C. ALL OF THE ABOVE
Child sexual abuse can include…
A. sending or showing a pornographic image
B. assault (rape, oral sex, touching genitals)
C. genital exposure
D. ALL OF THE ABOVE
It can happen with...
A. with young children
B. with adolescents
C. with girls
D. with boys
E. in black families
F. in Hispanic families
G. in white families
H. in poor neighborhoods
I. in wealthy neighborhoods
J. in religious homes
K. in homes where parents are divorced
L. in homes where the parents are married
M. WITH ALL OF THE ABOVE
What are the signs of sexual abuse in children?
While everyone’s reaction is unique, trauma can change the way the victim feels about themselves, how they interact with others, and even how they experience the world around them.
If you observe any of the following symptoms, take your child to the doctor immediately:
Pain, discoloration, bruising, bleeding, or scabs around the mouth, genital, or anus
Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training
Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
Chronic stomach pain
Some kids don’t show noticeable signs of trauma; however, here are some common ways trauma from sexual abuse or assault might show up in young people:
Regression to behaviors that had been outgrown (bedwetting, separation anxiety)
Trying to be perfect or overly compliant
Overall change in mood (sadness, anxiety, anger, aggression)
Change in attitude towards school, sports, or other activities
Fear of certain people or places; running away
Knowledge of or interest in sexual activity beyond what is developmentally expected
Change in eating habits (loss of appetite, gagging)
Trouble sleeping (nightmares or night terrors)
What is the lifelong impact of child abuse?
Trauma can actually change the body’s DNA.
Studies have shown a strong correlation between child abuse and other adverse childhood experiences and negative, long-term personal health outcomes such as:
(source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Is healing possible?
Human beings have an amazing capacity for healing. Resilience, or the ability to overcome, is not a character trait. It's also not something that some people have and others don’t. Resilience is the human spark inside each of us and is supported in community.
Resilience comes from a belief in yourself and an understanding of your value. It’s nurtured through positive and healthy relationships with family, friends, and mentors. It’s fanned by a sense of meaning and purpose. Resilience is the goal of our work with the kids and families who come through our doors.
As one child in counseling at Small Talk said, "I'm brave, I'm strong, I can do anything."
I'm concerned about a child, what should I do?
Report emergencies by calling 911.
Report suspected abuse or neglect any time, day or night, by calling the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Protective Services at (855) 444-3911.
Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect will either be: Assigned for investigation; Rejected; or Transferred to another agency for investigation, such as law enforcement or the Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing.
Reports must meet the following three criteria to be assigned for investigation: The alleged victim is under 18 years of age, the alleged perpetrator is a parent, legal guardian or other person responsible for the child's health and welfare, the allegations minimally meet the child abuse and neglect definitions in the Child Protection Law.
(Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)
If you are a mandated reporter you are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse and neglect. If you have questions about the CAC model or how Small Talk coordinates investigations, our staff is available to answer your questions. Every child is our child. Preventing and reporting abuse is all of our responsibility.
What about abuse between two children?
Small Talk offers a program that is open to the community called "Healthy Boundaries," where children can learn to treat themselves and others in a safe and appropriate manner. This program has no cost, but not every child is eligible. Email our Clinical Director Lindsey Power to find out more.