Nov 15, 2023
Every day, countless innocent children are sexually abused – whether at home, in schools, in places of worship, on sports teams, and elsewhere. According to a statistic provided by Dordulian Law Group’s partner organization – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) – government authorities respond to a report of child sexual abuse every nine minutes in the United States.
Sexual abuse is a parent’s worst nightmare – but most people assume it will never affect their children. Unfortunately, many sexually abused children do not tell their parents about the incident. A child who has been sexually abused may be intimidated or threatened by predators, overcome with shame, or under the impression that no one will believe their claim. Child sex abuse survivors are therefore often unlikely to come forward immediately (if ever) to report these crimes.
It’s important for parents to understand and be able to identify the most important warning signs for sexual abuse. The information below will also include signs indicating an adult is harming a minor. We’ll also provide you with information on how to file a claim against your child’s perpetrator with the experienced and proven sex abuse lawyers at Dordulian Law Group (DLG).
California Penal Code § 11165.1 covers all forms of child sex abuse ranging from assault to exploitation and even trafficking. Essentially, because a child is too young to give consent, this type of abuse occurs whenever a sexual act is committed by an adult against a minor.
Child sexual abuse entails any form of sexual activity engaged in by an adult perpetrator with a minor, which may include:
It’s important for parents to realize that child sexual abuse impacts all races, genders, ethnicities, religions, and economic backgrounds. In California, sexual abuse is legally defined as sexual assault or sexual exploitation – meaning a physical act like touching or a crime such as child pornography.
Additionally, parents need to be aware that the majority of sexual predators aren’t strangers. In fact, the vast majority of molesters are someone close to the child and the child’s family. Often, child sexual predators may be:
The majority of the child sexual abuse warning signs below are provided by various NGOs as well as government-funded entities, including Darkness to Light, Stop it Now!, RAINN, and the State of Michigan.
Below, we’ve separated the child sexual abuse warning signs into three categories: physical, behavioral, and emotional.
Physical Warning Signs of Child Sex Abuse:
Behavioral Warning Signs of Child Sex Abuse:
Emotional Warning Signs of Child Sex Abuse:
At first glance, the list of potential warning signs for child sexual abuse is extensive and may seem overwhelming for parents. But it’s important to note that the more information and education available, the more likely you will be able to identify said signs and protect your child.
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, coming forward and reporting sexual abuse – particularly as a child – involves a tremendous amount of courage. That process of reporting sexual abuse is one that can only be understood by the child survivor. As a result, the most important thing you can do when a child reports sexual abuse to you as either a parent or adult authority is empathize and confirm that you believe the claim.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) offers the following tips for parents if a child reports sexual abuse:
Additionally, as DLG’s in-house Chief Investigator and retired LAPD sex crimes detective – Moses Castillo – has noted in the past, after empathizing with and supporting a child who comes forward with an allegation of sexual abuse, the next most important thing you can do is report the claim to the proper authorities.
“The vast majority of sex crimes sadly go unreported, and it’s important that reports are filed with law enforcement as soon as possible after a child makes an allegation. Once a report has been filed, a parent is able proceed with a separate civil claim (in addition to any criminal charges that may be filed) in pursuit of maximum financial compensation,” Castillo says.
In addition to identifying signs of child abuse, RAINN offers some signs which may indicate that an adult is harming a child. This can involve sexual or physical abuse, but as RAINN notes, protecting children is a constant challenge given that sexual predators are often in positions of authority and 93% of sexual abuse survivors know their perpetrator.
As DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) member, Detective Moses Castillo, noted in a previous blog interview, sexual predators are notorious for weaving into a family’s inner circle through positions of authority.
“It’s important for parents to realize that the majority of sexual predators aren’t strangers, but someone close to the child and the child’s family. Whether it’s a coach, teacher, clergy member, family friend, or even a close relative, most childhood sexual abuse is committed by a familiar face,” Detective Castillo said.
“If an adult makes regular efforts to spend more time (typically alone) with your child than you do as their parent, that’s a red flag,” Castillo added. “Premeditated attempts to get a child alone – whether to go out for ice cream, take a trip to an amusement park, the movies, etc. – are situations that can be conducive to sexual abuse.”
“It’s also important to remember that sexual predators are notorious for seeking out positions (whether as a professional or volunteer) that allow them access to children. Granted, 95% of coaches, teachers, clergy, volunteers at religious institutions, etc. are likely upstanding citizens. But parents need to be aware that there’s no standard model for a sexual predator. A predator can be any of age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.,” DLG’s founder and president, Samuel Dordulian, says.
Some common warning signs that may indicate an adult is harming your child include:
DLG’s attorneys are ready to help you if you suspect that your child has been sexually abused. Our team will fight on your behalf for maximum financial damages and full justice – claims of child sexual abuse are serious and deserve to be handled with professionalism, discretion, and attention that we at DLG offer each and every client.
Sam Dordulian is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District attorney and sex crimes prosecutor. Dordulian founded DLG as the nation’s top sexual abuse law firm by providing survivor clients in need the very best legal representation in addition to a 24/7 support network of professionals:
DLG believes all sexual abuse survivors and their families. We’re here to help you throughout every step of the legal process. A civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for your child’s abuser can be the most effective way to secure justice. DLG will seek all damages applicable to your child when you file a civil claim for sexual abuse.
Some common damages that may be recoverable in a child sexual abuse claim include:
It’s important to note that sexual abuse civil claims are entirely separate (and have no bearing on) any criminal charges that may be brought against your child’s perpetrator – whether or not a criminal charge is ever filed or successful does not necessarily impact your family’s civil claim against a perpetrator.
A new law which takes effect in 2024 – California Assembly Bill 452 (AB 452) – officially eliminates the statute of limitations for all new child sex abuse claims.
DLG’s Sam Dordulian expressed his support for AB 452 in a recent interview with the Daily Californian:
“It takes an extremely long time for children to be able to process what happened to them to be able to come out and tell their story,” Dordulian said. “If you put an arbitrary age like 40 or 26, or whatever age you pick, you are still going to limit a lot of people who are not ready to come forward and tell their story from ever getting justice.”
Under current California Law, childhood sexual abuse cases which occurred before January 1, 2024 are bound to the following deadline:
Claims must be filed before the survivor’s 40th birthday (or within five years of the plaintiff discovering the impact of their experience via a mental health injury such as post-traumatic stress disorder).
With the passage of California AB 452, any child sex crime committed after January 1, 2024 will no longer be bound to a claim filing deadline – meaning that survivors will be able to come forward whenever they feel inclined.
At DLG, we know how difficult the process of reporting sexual abuse can be, and we’re here to listen, to believe, and to support survivors and their families in their pursuit of justice through civil lawsuits.
Our dedication to each and every client is exemplified by our results and experience:
Contact us today for a free and no obligation consultation to discuss your child sexual abuse case at 866-GO-SEE-SEM. DLG and Sam Dordulian have successfully helped countless survivors recover maximum financial damages awards and obtain the justice they deserve on their own terms.
Our team of Glendale, California, child sex abuse attorneys accepts every case on a contingency fee agreement, which means you never have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses when securing the very best legal representation available. Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you don’t pay a penny until we recover maximum financial compensation for your sexual abuse claim.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.