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How to spot and protect against child sexual abuse

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are a victim of child sexual abuse in America.

Posted: Mar 7, 2019 7:46 PM
Updated: Mar 8, 2019 6:34 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - According to the National Center for Victims of Crime 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are a victim of child sexual abuse in America.

With Catholic Church or R. Kelly sex abuse cases in the headlines, it can be easy to forget that child sex abuse can happen to your own children.

The key is to prevent it and protect them. Taking steps to reduce the chance of child sex abuse is the key is preventing it. It's crucial for parents to have open and honest conversations with their children early on.

"They understand that there are no secrets from mom and dad, that the parents are very aware of who their children are associating with, they're aware of social media that they're on," said Trish Fox, Scan.

Many predators like to 'groom' potential victims meaning they gain a child's trust and break down defenses.

"It's important early on to identify body parts as exactly what they're called because at times people that are grooming children will sometimes identify body parts with unique names," said Fox.

A predator can be a close friend or family member or someone a child meets online.

"Just because they can't physically meet someone doesn't necessarily mean they're not being abused because a lot of times it's on camera. If they have access to being online and a webcam sometimes predators will convince young girls and boys to do something online," said Fox.

What signs should you look out for in children?

"If they start to withdraw, if they seem somewhat fearful, if they're afraid or uncomfortable with another adult or somebody." said Fox.

Fox says that although you may notice those signs in a child, it doesn't necessarily mean that sexual abuse is the issue.

"Parents that know their children, know a change in behavior and I think any change in behavior is something that they should research and determine what's going on with their child."

If you suspect or know someone is a victim of abuse, report it immediately.

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