How do I know if my child’s sexual behavior is normal or a sign of abuse?
As a caregiver, you may be worried about a child if they start displaying sexualized behaviors. Your instinct may be to think something has happened to the child, but that is not always the case. Some child sexualized behavior is healthy. Other behavior may be a sign of abuse. Here are some resources if you are worried about a child in your life.
Please seek medical attention if you feel your child has been hurt.
Maine Specific Resources
- Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA)
- 24-hour Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline Number: 1-800-871-7741
- Maine Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers
- Spurwink Center for Safe & Healthy Families
General Child Sexual Abuse & Trauma Resources
- MECASA Child Sexual Abuse Key Concepts Factsheet
- Factsheet going over the key concepts, how to respond when a child tells you about abuse, and common & uncommon sexual behaviors throughout development
- National Children’s Advocacy Center Resources for Parents
- National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network
- National Children’s Alliance
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center, A Guide for Friends & Family of Sexual Violence Survivors
- Children’s Safety Partnership
- Find resources on how to talk about child sexual abuse and normal sexual behavior, boundaries, and more.
- National Children’s Advocacy Center Family Norms Discussion Worksheet
- NCAC Fact Sheets
Healthy Sexual Development
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center, An overview of Healthy Childhood Sexual Behavior
- HealthyChildren.org – Ages & Stages – Sexual Behaviors in Young Children
Responding to Sexual Behaviors
How to Respond to a Disclosure From a Child
Updated August 2023