Behavioral signs that a child has been molested

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Behavioral signs that a child has been molested

A child can have a variety of behavioral signs after they've been abused. With younger child, often times, you are looking for detailed and age inappropriate sexual behaviors. So, if they have not been exposed to a particular type of sexual behavior, and they are displaying that, you want to be more concerned. Because, where would they learn that sexual behavior? Now, for instance, if they've seen mom and dad having some intimate relations, or they've been exposed to something on TV that had a sexual nature to it, or some pornography, or something they saw in the magazine, they may imitate that. However, if they really never had exposure to those sexual matters, then you're going to be more concerned if your child is displaying those types of behaviors. In addition, younger children may also have this fascination with sexual matters. And, fascination with the genital area. That's going to raise a red flag. Also, they also may have sort of behavioral issues of being more clingy, starting to wet the bed at night again, or soiling the underwear. A lot of these different aggressive behaviors are telling you that something is not right. They are just not doing okay. With older children and adolescent you will often see, again, drastic changes in behaviors. So, it's not whether it's a positive behavior or a negative behavior. It's drastic changes. They, again, may be on the negative side where they become more truant. They become more aggressive. They start having poor school performance. They start having difficulties with parent relations. Or they maybe on what could be perceived as kind of a positive side, in that they become more hyper-vigilant. And, they want to be the perfect child. They want to become the straight A student, and clean the house, and take care of everything. Because, they've been in a situation that they are completely out of control. But now, they want to control that environment around them. So, sometimes you'll see the negative behaviors, sometimes you'll see the positive behaviors. Also with older children and adolescents, you will sometimes see taking on more high risk behaviors. Such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity. Also self injuries types of behaviors. They may run away. And then also, the extreme, they may attempt suicide or actually succeed in suiciding.

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Karen Kay Imagawa, MD

Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD: Director, Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Director, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program, Division of General Pediatrics; Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, is also the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and is a full-time attending within the Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). She received her medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is board certified in General Pediatrics, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, and Child Abuse Pediatrics.  Dr. Imagawa has made significant contributions to program development at CHLA: She is currently the Director of the Joint General Pediatrics – USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program ,expanding the program to its current position with the largest number of board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatricians (7) in a Southern California program, and was integral in establishing the ACGME accredited Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship program at CHLA . Dr. Imagawa is also one of the founders and the Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center at CHLA, a multifaceted interdisciplinary child protection center involving evaluation, treatment, prevention, education and research in the field of child maltreatment.  Dr. Imagawa is a court appointed expert (730 paneled expert in both Criminal and Dependency Court) in the field of child abuse, and was actively involved in the development of the Foster Care Hub at CHLA, one of seven designated Hubs in Los Angeles County that were initially established to provide forensic, medical, and mental health screenings for newly detained children entering the foster care system.  She previously served on the advisory group for The California Medical Training Centers formulating standardized training in child abuse, and collaborated on a task force to develop standards at the state level for mental health care for child victims of trauma. She is a medical consultant for the Inter-agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN – the official county agency which coordinates the development of services for the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect), having participated in various medical task forces establishing protocols and best practice standards for the evaluation and treatment of suspected victims of child abuse, included those with developmental disabilities. Dr. Imagawa’s strength as a clinical educator is also seen in her dedication to education and training. She has been invited to participate in numerous speaking engagements, as well as requests from the media and entertainment industry, involving a variety of topics in the fields of child abuse and/or developmental-behavioral pediatrics. 

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