Around 60 million children between the ages of six and 18 participate in youth sports in the United States annually. For many, the experience is rewarding, educational, and fun. Unfortunately for others, sexual abuse from coaches or other adults involved in youth sports turns what should be enriching into a living nightmare.
Several high-profile cases have involved doctors, coaches, and support staff sexually abusing young athletes over the past few years. Tragically, these are not the only instances of child sex abuse in youth sports organizations. According to Child Help, two to eight percent of youth athletes are sexually abused yearly, with an additional 40 to 50% reporting they have endured suggestive comments, offensive pictures, inappropriate touching, and other methods of grooming and sexual abuse while participating in youth sporting activities.
Signs of Child Sex Abuse in Sports
One of the most common signs of a child being sexually abused by a coach or athletic instructor is a sudden disinterest in participating in the sport. Withdrawing from athletic and social interactions, wanting to skip practices and games, and losing interest in things that used to bring joy are also indications of abuse.
Many children victimized by sexual predators develop mood disorders, become anxious or depressed, sometimes alternating between the two, and may experience changes in eating and sleeping habits. Victims of child sex abuse may also become angry and violent or be prone to outbursts. Without help, these things can get progressively worse over time.
Any sudden changes in a child’s behavior should be carefully and thoroughly investigated. However, children are often frightened about coming forward with stories of abuse. Having age-appropriate conversations with your child about sexual abuse can help give them the language they need to express abuse has happened. Still, even this isn’t a guarantee of communication. If you suspect abuse is happening and your child is having difficulty talking about it, involving a professional may be the best way to help them feel safe to speak. We are here to help.
The Cifarelli Law Firm Helps Victims of Child Sex Abuse
If your child has been sexually abused by anyone involved in youth sports, the Cifarelli Firm is here to help. Please call our child sex abuse attorneys at 949-502-8600 to discuss your options or to schedule a cost and obligation-free consultation at our Los Angeles area office.