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Sexual Abuse: Knowing About Sex at Too Young an Age

Topic Overview

A child may have knowledge of sex that isn't appropriate for the child's age. This may be expressed by the amount of detail a child gives about sexual acts that should not be familiar to him or her. For example, a 3-year-old child should not be able to describe in detail what happens during sexual intercourse. Young children who have first-hand knowledge of sexual acts likely have been sexually abused or have been exposed to sexual activity. This exposure can be an enticed or forced witnessing of sexual behaviour. It may happen in person or through media sources, such as pornographic videos.

When a young child acts in a way that shows an awareness of sexuality or asks questions about sex that are far too advanced for his or her age, consider it a warning sign of sexual abuse.

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Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics

Current as ofMay 28, 2014