top of page
Child Sexual Abuse

The topic of Child Sexual Abuse can be overwhelming and may be difficult to talk about or understand. In order to protect children, adults must know the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse, how to respond, and how to help prevent it in your family and community. Read on to learn more about this issue.

Definition Icon.png

Child sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child. Child sexual abuse can be perpetrated by an adult or by a child who exerts power over another child. Sexual activity can be touching OR non-touching actions and may include:

  • Rape

  • Fondling

  • Incest

  • Sexual talk

  • Voyeurism (watching)

  • Exhibitionism (showing)

  • Pornography

  • Internet Crimes

shutterstock_738786451 (Web).jpg
  • One out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old.

  • 90% of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know or by someone their family knows, loves, or trusts.

  • Only 10% of children are abused by a stranger.

  • 70% of the children who are sexually abused never tell anyone!

  • A child who is the victim of sexual abuse can experience emotional and psychological problems that can be devastating to the child and last into adulthood.


Children need adults to be aware of the signs and symptoms of abuse and they need adults who are willing to do something about it.


Child sexual abuse can happen to any child. Children need adults to help protect them from all abuse!


All children respond differently to sexual abuse. Many children who have been sexually abused show no physical signs at all. When physical signs are present, they may include:

  • Difficulty walking or sitting

  • Redness, rashes, bleeding, or pain in the genital or anal areas

  • Frequent bladder or urinary tract infections

  • Painful bowel movements

  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Pregnancy

A child victim of sexual abuse can experience behavioral and emotional problems which can be devastating and can last into adulthood. Behavioral signs may include:

  • A sudden change in behavior or personality

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Withdrawing from family, friends, or activities

  • Acting aggressively 

  • Showing a sudden fear of certain people, places, or activities

  • Problems at school

  • Acting younger than their age (regressing) such as wetting their bed or sucking their thumb

  • Nightmares or other sleep problems

  • Acting out sexually, showing sexual knowledge beyond what is normal for their age, sexual play with toys, self, or others

  • Self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol or drug use, eating disorders, or cutting themselves


Warning Signs

Warning signs may include physical signs and sudden changes in behavior and emotions. However, children who have been sexually abused may show no signs at all. And remember, these signs may be caused by other things than sexual abuse.

Learn More

Internet Safety

The Internet can be a dangerous place for children. Here are some tips and resources to help keep your kids safe. Learn More



Links to online resources. Click Here


Child Advocacy Center

The goal of a CAC is to help children who have been sexually abused and/or severely physically abused by providing a safe comfortable place to interview and support them. Learn More

Registered sex offenders in Illinois

A listing of the registered sex offenders in Illinois can be found on the Illinois State Police website. Click Here

Erin's Law

Find out more information about the landmark legislation that is the first US child sexual abuse prevention education law requiring children be educated in schools.

Learn About The Law

How it's working in Illinois

New Resource Sheets

Healthy Sexuality

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Sex Trafficking

Darkness to Light Illinois Resources Sheet

Donate Button.png
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
bottom of page