Print This Article The Wichita Eagle Back to web version
Friday, April 18, 2014

How to help when you suspect abuse


Behaviors to watch for

Sexual abuse is any interaction with a child in which the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator, the child or another person.

Children who have been abused may:

**Verbally report abuse

**Exhibit seductive behavior, advanced sexual knowledge for the child's age, promiscuity, prostitution

**Express fear of a particular person or place

**Be excessively curious about sex, or exhibit precocious sex play or excessive masturbation, sexually abuse another child

**Runaway or become delinquent or truant

**Try to injure themselves or attempt suicide

**Have an extreme fear of being touched; unwilling to submit to physical examination

**Have poor peer relationships

An adult who may be sexually abusing a child may:

**Act extremely protective or jealous of the child

**Encourage the child to engage in prostitution or sexual acts

Source: "A Guide to Reporting Child Abuse in Kansas," distributed by the Kansas Children's Service League. PDF: Read the guide.

Reporting suspected abuse

The Exploited and Missing Child Unit of Sedgwick County recommends that if you suspect any type of abuse, call both 911 and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services at 800-922-5330.

WHAT TO EXPECT IF YOU REPORT ABUSE:

**First, please believe your child when your child makes an abuse allegation. Kids don't make up abuse allegations, so please believe until you have no reason to believe.

**Calls can be anonymous, to 911 or the state. Don't let worries about that stop you from making a call.

**Once you call, expect questions such as: who is the child? Where do they live, if you know? Do not worry about whether you know all these answers, so do the best you can.

**Other questions you'll probably be asked: Who has access to the child, and what worries you about that access? What is the relationship between the abuser and the child? Does the abuser live in the home? If not, where?

**What is the name of the abuser? If you don't know, that's fine too, you don't have to have all the answers, and you don't have to have done your own mini-investigation.

**What do you see and what do you hear that makes you concerned?

**Please call law enforcement and SRS even if all you have is a gut feeling, a thought that the pieces of this picture don't fit together right.

Source: Diana Schunn, executive director, the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County

READ THE SERIES

PART ONE: For a decade, girls endured the horror at home

PART TWO: Neighbors rescue girls from years of molestation

PART THREE: As shattered lives are put back together, cracks remain

© 2010 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansas.com