Recognize the Signs

Secrets about touching are secrets that need to be reported

Teach children that it doesn’t matter who the person is, a family member, a friend, a coach, a trusted adult, etc., if someone asks you not to talk about being touched, you absolutely must tell a trusted adult.

Signs to Look Out For

  • Sudden changes in behaviour, performance, and concentration
  • Unexplained injuries or injuries that don’t match the child’s reasoning for the injuries
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing to hide injuries (ie. long sleeves or pants in hot weather, etc.)
  • Extreme behaviours like aggression, avoidance or withdrawal, substance use, self-harming
  • Sexual knowledge or behaviour beyond a child’s stage of development
  • Children who avoid or appear upset about going home, or who run away from home
  • Children who suddenly no longer want to attend a family member’s home, a friend’s home, a recreational/sporting activity, etc.
Please note that you do not need proof in order to report abuse. If a child discloses to you, remember to LISTEN and to BELIEVE them while remaining calm and non-judgmental; how you react to their disclosure is the first step in their healing journey. Furthermore, it is not your role to investigate the matter, but it is your duty* to report it to local authorities. Reassure the child that telling you was the right thing to do, and that they are very brave for having done so. In Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and Akwesasne, report your concerns of abuse to either the Children’s Aid Society of S, D & G or to Akwesasne Child & Family Services. * In keeping with Chapter 11, Section 72 of the Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990, if you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child has or is likely to suffer physical or sexual abuse, sexual molestation, or sexual exploitation, you are required to report such an instance to the appropriate authorities.