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How do I know if my child is sexually harming another child?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between behaviour that is part of normal development and behaviour that is harmful. However, there are some common warning signs.

The following behaviours may be cause for concern:

  • Seeking out the company of younger children and spending an unusual amount of time in their company
  • Taking younger children to ‘secret’ places or hideaways or playing ‘special’ games with them (e.g. doctor and patient, removing clothing etc.), especially games unusual to their age
  • Insisting on hugging or kissing a child when the child does not want to
  • Telling you they do not want to be alone with a child or becoming anxious when a particular child comes to visit
  • Frequently using aggressive or sexual language about adults or children
  • Showing sexual materials to younger children
  • Sharing sexual images of someone without their consent
  • Sharing sexual images of themselves without the recipient being clear that they would like to see them
  • Viewing sexual images of children online
  • Making sexually abusive telephone calls
  • Sharing alcohol or drugs with younger children or teens
  • Exposing his or her genitals to younger children
  • Forcing sex on another adolescent or child
  • Befriending a younger child in order to engage in sexual activity and asking them not to tell
  • Having sexual activity with someone who is significantly more drunk than themselves
  • Having sexual activity with someone who passively ‘lets’ it happen
  • Touching someone’s bottom, breasts or crotch area without in-the-moment indications that the touching is desired

Sources: Parents Protect! and Think U Know