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We’re experts in the field of child maltreatment and trauma. Our resources are meant to help parents, teachers and any community members learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences, child abuse signs and ways to prevent abuse.


What is Child Sexual Abuse?

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

“Child sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. Touching behaviors may involve touching of the vagina, penis, breasts or buttocks, oral-genital contact, or sexual intercourse. Non-touching behaviors can include voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body), exhibitionism, or exposing the child to pornography.Abusers often do not use physical force, but may use play, deception, threats, or other forms of coercion to engage children and maintain their silence. Abusers frequently employ persuasive and manipulative tactics to keep the child engaged. These tactics—referred to as “grooming”—may include buying gifts or arranging special activities, which can further confuse the victim.” 

Who are "typical" child abusers?

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

  • Studies suggest that as much as 90% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts. “Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger.”

What are the long-term effects of Child Abuse if left untreated?

National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety

Depression and thoughts of suicide

Sexual anxiety and disorders, including having too many or unsafe sexual partners

Difficulty setting safe limits with others (e.g., saying no) and relationship problems

Poor body image and low self-esteem

Unhealthy behaviors, such as alcohol, drugs, self-harm, or eating problems. These behaviors are often used to try to hide painful emotions related to the abuse

Girl with Bookshelves

Books on prevention

Books on Prevention
Image by Eleventh Wave

To report suspected abuse in Illinois:

Call 911 or 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873)

Outside of Illinois, call 1-800-422-4453.

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