Fifteen days after 4-year-old Emma Thompson visited a hospital for a sexual abuse exam - she was dead. Her initial exam showed no sign of trauma, but an autopsy later revealed that between the time she visited the hospital and the time she died, Emma had suffered 80 bruises, a fracture to her skull, and sexual trauma.
Signs that point to child abuse.
"These symptoms of child sexual abuse are also symptoms for a lot of other issues," said Tammy Urban with the Children's Assessment Center.
The Children's Assessment Center is where children are referred by law enforcement or by Harris County Child Protective Services following alleged sexual abuse.
"What they aim to gather from that interview is factual detailed information about what has happened to this child," said Urban.
Information that law enforcement and CPS will use during their investigation into allegations of abuse. But the aim of the center is prevention starting with parents and awareness.
"We often tell parents there is not one sign for child sexual abuse or child abuse," said Urban.
Signs can range from bedwetting to becoming more withdrawn. Urban said it's important for parents to communicate with their child and to look for changes in behavior.
"May be they have a sudden fear of a place or a person who in the past they loved to be around, or it was a place they loved to visit," said Urban.
A national report estimates that 95% of sexually abused children are abused by a family member or someone they trust.
In Emma's case, her mother, Abigail young, and her mother's boyfriend, Lucas Coe, have each been charged with one count each of injury to a child. Young posted bond while Coe remains behind bars.
Spotting Child Abuse
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