BLUE BELL, Pa. (CBS) – The child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State has left many wondering why it wasn’t reported to police sooner and how they can spot the signs that someone has been abused.
Sudden but subtle changes in a child can be a sign of abuse: falling grades; wanting to avoid a person or place; or going from outgoing to introvert. That’s according to Abbie Newman, Executive Director of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County.
“Child abusers are very smart and very clever and most of the time, they don’t just do something overnight. They groom the child. This grooming process can go on for years, so by the time they actually start abusing this child sexually, the child believes that there is no way out for them,” because most abusers are in a position of authority.
“You’re being violated by somebody who you’ve been taught to trust and not only have you been taught to trust them, but all the other adults in your life do trust this individual.”
Newman calls child abuse the last great taboo in terms of what people won’t talk about.
“It is in every community, every socio-economic group, every race and religion.”
National statistics show that only 10% of child sexual abuse cases get reported.
Reported by Suzanne Monaghan, KYW Newsradio 1060