When a child has been sexually abused, the first step toward healing is for someone to recognize the signs. To do this, it is helpful to know what healthy sexual behavior looks like in children. Sometimes, this understanding eases suspicions of abuse.

According to the Florida Statutes, a child is a person under the age of 18 who is unmarried and has not been emancipated by a court. Child abuse is any injury or harm done to a child that causes, or is likely to cause, any injury or harm to a child’s physical, mental, or emotional health. Child sexual abuse is engaging children in sexual acts or exposing them to sexual acts or pornography. The perpetrator can be a child or an adult. For more information, read Florida Statute 39.01.

This section will describe healthy sexual development and how it can be nurtured. Examples of typical sexual behaviors will be given by age group. You’ll also be shown ways to guide displays of healthy sexual behaviors in positive ways.

The last pages of this section will present examples of behaviors that should cause concern, along with some specific signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse. You can also visit Don’t Miss the Signs for additional resources

In Crisis?

FLORIDA : Florida Council Against Sexual Violence
Crisis Hotline : 1.888.956.RAPE (7273)

UNITED STATES : RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network)
Crisis Hotline : 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)

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