Child Sexual Abuse
Reporting child abuse is everyone’s responsibility.
If you or someone you know suspects child abuse, please contact your local law enforcement agency or department of social services at 1-800-332-6347. You can also click here for resources in your county.
Child sexual abuse occurs when a person engages in activity with a child to meet his or her own sexual needs. It is not a love relationship; rather the child is being used for the offender’s sexual pleasure. Sexual offenders can be children, teenagers or adults. They can be male or female and are typically not strangers to the child or his/her family.
While it’s important to talk to your children about “stranger danger,” remember that 56% of those that sexually abuse a child are acquaintances of either the child or the family while only 5% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by a stranger.* So talking to your children in an age appropriate way about “good touches and bad touches” is vital.
Resources for Preventing and Addressing Child Sexual Abuse
MCASA has developed the following resources as model components for preventing and addressing child sexual abuse. These resources may be helpful in developing a training program for professionals working with children; educating parents, family members and other caretakers; and supporting effective and compassionate responses to reports of child sexual abuse.
Click on the topics below to download a fact sheet for more information.
Creating Safe Environments: Working to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Protect children from grooming behaviors and sexual abuse through education and awareness.
Behaviors of Sexual Predators: Grooming
Understand the stages of grooming to protect children early on from potential sexual abuse.
Incidence of Child Sexual Abuse: Focus on Maryland
Learn about the numbers of children being abused in Maryland and nationwide.
Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse
Know the physical and emotional signs and symptoms a child may exhibit when they are being groomed or sexually abused.
Appropriate Responses to a Child Reporting Sexual Abuse & Available Resources
Access tips on how to respond to a child reporting sexual abuse and resources in Maryland to help you make an official report, access legal help, and seek support.
Requirements for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
Learn the laws and requirements in Maryland on mandatory reporting for child sexual abuse cases.
MCASA’s Sexual Assault Legal Institute
SALI provides free legal services to survivors of child sexual abuse.
Understanding the Legal System When Your Child Has Been Sexually Abused Booklet
This booklet by MCASA’s Sexual Assault Legal Institute provides basic information about how the legal system responds to allegations of child sexual abuse. It is available in both English and Spanish.
Maryland Children’s Alliance Member Centers
Locate and contact the Maryland Children’s Alliance children’s advocacy center in your county.
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention for Your Business, Agency or Group
MCASA can provide trainings to businesses, agencies, and groups who are interested in learning more about signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse, red flags of grooming behaviors, and how to comply with Maryland reporting laws. Trainings will be co-presented by program staff and an attorney from MCASA’s Sexual Assault Legal Institute. Donations for this training are requested based on agency size and budget. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you are a child or adult survivor of child sexual abuse and need support or resources, contact a Rape Crisis and Recovery Center near you.
*U.S Department of Justice, “Sexual Assault Of Young Children As Reported To Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, And Offender Characteristics,” H.Snyder, 2000