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Child sex abuse reports rise, Fairfax Co. to host abuse Q&A

Friday - 1/13/2012, 11:44am  ET

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- The child sex abuse scandal at Penn State is raising awareness of potential abuse in our area.

The Fairfax County Police Department's Child Abuse Squad is investigating twice as many reports of abuse from November and December 2011 compared to the same months in 2010.

The county's Office for Women's Domestic and Sexual Violence hotline is receiving more calls asking for advice since the scandal broke.

One warning sign that a child may be sexually abused is if he or she is reluctant to visit places or participate in activities they previously liked, experts say. They also might start displaying unusual sexual behavior.

Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell says if you suspect a child is being abused, "Don't hesitate to contact either social services or the police department" to discuss your concerns.

Caldwell says experts in the area can give you perspective about behavior that may be normal, or not normal. They also can refer you to additional resources.

Fairfax County counselors and police who work to protect children from sexual abuse are holding an online discussion next week to answer questions and concerns people may have. It will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 10 - 11 a.m.

You can submit a question now by clicking here.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)