POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 113 Signs of Child Sexual Exploitation Parents should be alert to the below noted indicators of sexual and physical abuse and exploitation. - Changes in behaviour, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness, and excessive crying. - Changes in bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed, or other sleep disturbances. - Acting out inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters. - A sudden acting out of feelings or aggressive or rebellious behavior. - Regression to infantile behavior; clinging. - School problems, behavior problems. - Changes in toilet-training habits. - A fear of certain places, people, or activities; an excessive fear of going to a certain place. - Bruises, rashes, cuts, limping, multiple or poorly explained injuries. - Pain, itching, bleeding, fluid, or rawness in the private areas. You should note that some of these behaviors may have other explanations, but it is important to assist your child no matter what the cause of these symptoms or behaviors. Adapted from Just in Case...Parental guidelines in case you are considering daycare. Adapted with permission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Copyright (c) 1989 NCMEC. All rights reserved. If a Child Discloses Exploitation REMEMBER THAT CHILDREN SELDOM LIE ABOUT ACTS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. It is important that the child feel that you BELIEVE what he or she has told you. SUPPORT THE CHILD AND THE DECISION TO TELL THE STORY. It is normal for children to fear telling others - especially parents. Make it CLEAR that telling you what happened was the RIGHT THING TO DO and that you will PROTECT him or her from FUTURE HARM. RESPECT the CHILD'S PRIVACY. Accompany the child to a PRIVATE PLACE where he or she can relate the story. Be careful NOT to discuss the incident in front of people who do not need to know what happened. Show PHYSICAL AFFECTION, and express your LOVE and CONFIDENCE with words and gestures. Keep OPEN THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION with the child. In the future it will be vitally important that the child believe that you are sympathetic, understanding, supportive, and optimistic so that he or she will feel comfortable in making additional disclosures and in discussing feelings. YOU MUST ALERT the child protection, youth services, child abuse, or other appropriate social services organizations. The police, sheriff's office, or other law enforcement agency MUST ALSO BE NOTIFIED. If you think the child has been physically injured, SEEK OUT APPROPRIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION. Remember often we do not realize that a child who has been sexually exploited is also physically injured. DO NOT GUESS. Let the professionals make an independent judgment about treatment. Consider the need for COUNSELLING or THERAPY for the child. To ignore the incident, to "sweep it under the rug," to act as if it did not happen is not going to help the child deal with the exploitation. In deciding what counsellors to use, look for someone who is experienced in cases of sexual victimization. Ask about the number of children they have counseled. Report any online child sexual exploitation to's 24-hour toll-free telephone line to report ANY information on sexually exploited children: 1-866-658-9022. This number is available throughout Canada. Often children DO NOT disclose about incident(s) of sexual exploitation. It is up to attentive adults to recognize the SIGNS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. Excerpted from Just in case...Parental guidelines in case your child might someday be the victim of sexual abuse or exploitation. Adapted with permission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Copyright (c) 1985 NCMEC. All rights reserved. (cont’d...) (...cont’d)