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Study reports warning signs associated with child sexual abuse

General practice physicians in Hawaii have an opportunity to identify possible child victims of sexual assault by screening for certain factors. A study conducted in France that analyzed responses from 850 male and 869 female 15-year-old students discovered strong associations between certain behaviors and feelings and child sexual abuse. The researchers suggested that general practitioners could look for warning signs and then question young people more closely if their initial responses indicated the occurrence of sexual assault or attempted assaults.

Early detection of sexual abuse could connect young victims with therapies that might help them cope with the trauma and reduce the likelihood of engaging in self-destructive behaviors. Children attacked or exploited sexually by their caregivers frequently grow up to experience depression, anxiety, anger, sleep difficulties, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue or heart problems. They also might think about suicide, attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol or engage in risky sexual activities.

According to the study, children hurt by sexual predators might feel tired more often than their peers and struggle at school. They tend to be victims of violence at school and use cannabis regularly. Victims usually feel unaccepted by their peers and dislike their body weight.

Sexual abuse represents a criminal act, and the harm that results from sexual attacks could justify the recovery of financial damages for physical and emotional trauma. A person who wants information about how to proceed against an abuser may discuss the case with an attorney. Legal support might help a person hold an individual or organization accountable for personal injury. An attorney may be able to gather evidence from witnesses or medical practitioners and file a lawsuit against an abuser or a business, school or religious institution that ignored or enabled the abuse.

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